SADAT: Blackwater… with a Turkish-Islamic Flavor!

ARABI SOURI 

Turkish SADAT Mercenary and security company - Erdogan

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:

All the opposition’s questions and inquiries remain unanswered as long as the ambiguity hangs over the entire activity and activities of the “SADAT” company.

Turkey has been witnessing for days, far from the interests of the global media, an exciting debate related to the defense philosophy that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes in, at least according to the opposition’s perception. The International Defense and Consulting Services Company, SADAT, announced a few days ago, on its official website: “Organizing special courses in the field of assassinations, bombings, raids, ambushes, and special operations.” This was preceded by a webinar in which some thinkers from Islamic countries participated, during which they discussed “the necessity for Islamic countries to have a joint force in order to rise to the level of superpowers in defending themselves.”

The discussion gained additional importance, because the founder and chairman of the company, Adnan Tanri Wardi, was until January of last year a personal advisor to President Erdogan, as well as a member of the Supreme Commission for Defense and Foreign Policy Affairs in the Republican Palace.

Before getting acquainted with the nature of this company and its various activities, it is necessary to introduce the man and his interesting personality, as he was the commander of the special units in the Chief of Staff before he was expelled from the army in 1996 because of his religious activities, and he was also, a friend of Erdogan, a lecturer at the War College about war gangs when the latter (Erdogan) was mayor of Istanbul in 1994, and the current defense minister, Hulusi Akar, was one of his students.

Retired General Tanry Wardi established his company, “SADAT” on February 28, 2012, after being acquainted with the activities of private American security companies, the most important of which was “Blackwater”, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, and before that, Africa and Latin America.

Turkish newspapers published more information about the activity of this company, but without any official response to these allegations and the inquiries and questions of members of parliament by the opposition parties, including Unal Cevikoz from the Republican people, and Aton Geray about the “Good Party”, who called on the government to reveal the secrets of the company’s activities and secrets inside Turkey, and in Syria, Libya and other places. The company announced after its founding in 2012 that among its goals is “to provide security services to the armies and security forces in countries friendly to Turkey.”

The head of the “Good Party”, Maral Akshanar, spoke about the secret training camps of the aforementioned company near the cities of Konya and Tokat in central Anatolia, “and appealed to President Erdogan” to reveal the reasons, objectives and activities of these camps. ” The press information talked more than once about the company’s officers training the various Syrian factions in guerrilla warfare and the various arts of war and fighting since its establishment, especially after the failure of the CIA project to train the militants of the moderate Syrian factions in camps for Turkey in the year 2013-2014.

Spokesmen for the opposition parties accused the company of secretly transferring weapons and combat equipment to the aforementioned factions, after they obtained them from various countries, including Serbia and Ukraine. Journalist Mehmet Ali Gular said in the Cumhuriyet newspaper that Adnan Tanri Wardi persuaded President Erdogan during Sochi’s discussions with President Putin in September 2018 to establish Turkish military observation points in the vicinity of Idlib, despite the objection of the military leadership.

Adnan Tanri Wardi rose to prominence after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, after President Erdogan appointed him as his personal advisor, and it was said that he plays a major role in rearranging the affairs of the military establishment, after Erdogan canceled, by presidential decree, all military colleges and schools to replace them with The National Defense University which is headed now by a professor of Ottoman history close to him, and civilians close to Erdogan head the military colleges of the aforementioned university, which is joined according to criteria that will contribute in the medium and long term to the “Islamization of the military establishment.”

During the past period, opposition newspapers published a lot of news and articles about the company’s activities and the activities of its owner, who was said to have had a direct role in training members of the armed factions in Libya since 2013. He also played an important role in transporting Syrian mercenaries to Libya and supervising their movements there, which is the case also in Karabakh.

Member of Parliament for the Republican People Party, Unal Cevikoz, referred to the confessions of President Erdogan, who last year spoke about “sending various groups to fight in Libya,” and asked: “What are these various groups? What is the aforementioned company’s relationship with it? What is the number of its members? How much the Turkish state pays it? What are its special tasks in Libya or Syria or anywhere else if it exists?

This may explain the call of Aula Jalbka and Andre Hahn, members of parliament for the left party of the German government, to “follow up the activities of the mentioned company and its relations with the Turkish community and Islamic mosques in Germany,” and French President Macron did not hide his concern “about the Turkish secret activity among the Muslim communities in his country and in Europe in general. “

The sudden change in the internal system of the armed forces came at the end of last month, as the intelligence and internal security forces would be able to use whatever they want from the army’s weapons, to increase the suspicions of the opposition, which accused President Erdogan in the past of “working to form armed militias loyal to him directly to be used in emergency situations,” without the opposition parties and forces being able to confront Erdogan’s projects and plans as long as he controls the majority in parliament and controls all state facilities and apparatus, the most important of which are the army, intelligence, security, money, and the judiciary, and 95% of the state and private media.

Erdogan seeks to silence his opponents through financial fines imposed by government authorities on opposition newspapers, while the Supreme Council of Radio and Television decides to close television stations or impose heavy financial fines on them, under the pretext that they broadcast news that contradicts “the national interests of the nation and the Turkish state,” which means objection to his policies.

All of this explains President Erdogan’s attack on the leaders of the opposition parties and all those who oppose him, accusing them all of “terrorism, national treason, and espionage.” In turn, the security and judiciary will prosecute anyone who objects to this statement and charge him with insulting the President of the Republic, which carries a sentence of between one and three years in prison.

The opposition says that what the Turkish president aims to do is prevent his opponents on the right and left from talking about the secrets of Turkish activities, official and unofficial, in the military, security, and intelligence sectors abroad, especially in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, and in its neighboring countries, and now in Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

All the opposition’s questions and inquiries remain unanswered as long as the ambiguity hangs completely over the work and activities of the “SADAT” company. “There is no difference between it and the notorious American” Blackwater “company in Iraq and other Arab and African countries, said Ozkur Ozal, a spokesman for the CHP.

Aiton Girai, a member of parliament for the “Good Party”, expressed “his concern about the activities of the aforementioned secret company in Libya,” saying that it is there to achieve balance with the Russian “Wagner” company that supports General Haftar’s forces.

In all cases, and with the continued ambiguity that hangs over the activities of the aforementioned company, everyone knows that it has a very important role in serving the goals, plans, and projects of the Turkish President, both internally and externally, without anyone being able to go into the details, as long as the issue is related to the national security of Turkey, which only Erdogan defines its concepts and standards!

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“بلاك ووتر”.. بنكهة تركيّة إسلاميّة!

حسني محلي

حسني محلي
المصدر: الميادين نت
18 كانون الثاني 15:48

تبقى جميع أسئلة المعارضة واستفساراتها من دون جواب، ما دام الغموض يخيم بالكامل على نشاط شركة سادات وفعالياتها.

قام الجنرال المتقاعد تانري واردي بتأسيس شركته

تشهد تركيا منذ أيام، وبعيداً من اهتمامات الإعلام العالمي، نقاشاً مثيراً له علاقة بفلسفة الدفاع التي يؤمن بها الرئيس رجب طيب إردوغان، على الأقل بحسب تصوّر المعارضة، فقد أعلنت الشركة الدولية للدفاع والخدمات الاستشارية “سادات” قبل أيام، عبر موقعها الرسمي على الإنترنت، “عن تنظيم دورات خاصة في مجال الاغتيالات والتفجيرات والمداهمات والكمائن والعمليات الخاصة”. وسبق ذلك ندوة عبر الإنترنت شارك فيها بعض المفكّرين من دول إسلامية، تم خلالها مناقشة “ضرورة أن يكون للدول الاسلامية قوة مشتركة حتى ترتقي إلى مستوى الدول العظمى في الدفاع عن نفسها”. 

واكتسب النقاش أهميّة إضافيّة، لأنّ مؤسّس الشركة ورئيس مجلس إدارتها، عدنان تانري واردي، كان حتى كانون الثاني/يناير من العام الماضي مستشاراً شخصياً للرئيس إردوغان، كما كان عضواً في الهيئة العليا لشؤون الدفاع والسياسة الخارجية في القصر الجمهوري.

وقبل الاطّلاع على ماهية هذه الشّركة وأنشطتها المختلفة، لا بدَّ من التعريف بالرجل وبشخصيّته المثيرة، فقد كان قائداً للوحدات الخاصة في رئاسة الأركان قبل أن يطرد من الجيش في العام 1996 بسبب أنشطته الدينيّة، وكان أيضاً، وهو صديق لإردوغان، محاضراً في الكلية الحربية حول حرب العصابات عندما كان الأخير رئيساً لبلدية إسطنبول في العام 1994، وكان وزير الدفاع الحالي خلوصي أكار من تلامذته. 

وقد قام الجنرال المتقاعد تانري واردي بتأسيس شركته “سادات” في 28 شباط/فبراير 2012، بعد أن اطلع على نشاط الشركات الأمنية الأميركية الخاصة، وأهمها “بلاك ووتر”، في العراق وأفغانستان واليمن، وقبلها أفريقيا وأميركا اللاتينية. 

ونشرت الصحف التركية المزيد من المعلومات عن نشاط هذه الشركة، ولكن من دون أن يرد أي مسؤول رسمي على هذه الادعاءات وعلى استفسارات وأسئلة أعضاء البرلمان عن أحزاب المعارضة، ومنهم آونال جاويكوز عن الشعب الجمهوري، وآيتون جيراي عن الحزب “الجيد”، اللذان ناشدا الحكومة للكشف عن خفايا أنشطة الشركة وأسرارها داخل تركيا، وفي سوريا وليبيا وأماكن أخرى. وقد أعلنت الشركة بعد تأسيسها في العام 2012 أنَّ من بين أهدافها “تقديم خدمات أمنية لجيوش وقوى الأمن في الدول الصديقة لتركيا”.

وتحدَّثت رئيسة الحزب “الجيد” مارال أكشانار “عن مخيمات تدريب سرية تابعة للشركة المذكورة قرب مدينتي قونيا وتوكات وسط الأناضول”، وناشدت الرئيس إردوغان “للكشف عن أسباب هذه المخيمات وأهدافها وفعالياتها”. وتحدّثت المعلومات الصّحافية أكثر من مرة عن قيام ضباط الشركة بتدريب عناصر الفصائل السورية المختلفة على حرب العصابات ومختلف فنون الحرب والقتال منذ تأسيسها، وخصوصاً بعد فشل مشروع المخابرات الأميركية في تدريب مسلحي الفصائل السورية المعتدلة في مخيمات خاصة بتركيا في العام 2013-2014. 

واتهم المتحدثون باسم أحزاب المعارضة الشركة بنقل الأسلحة والمعدات القتالية سراً إلى الفصائل المذكورة، بعد أن حصلت عليها من دول مختلفة، ومنها صربيا وأوكرانيا. وقال الصحافي محمد علي جوللار في صحيفة “جمهوريات” إن عدنان تانري واردي هو الذي أقنع الرئيس إردوغان خلال مناقشات سوتشي مع الرئيس بوتين في أيلول/سبتمبر 2018، بإنشاء نقاط المراقبة العسكرية التركية في جوار إدلب، على الرغم من اعتراض القيادات العسكرية على ذلك. 

وسطع نجم عدنان تانري واردي بعد محاولة الانقلاب الفاشلة في 15 تموز/يوليو 2016، بعد أن عيَّنه الرئيس إردوغان مستشاراً شخصياً له، وقيل إنّه يؤدي دوراً رئيسياً في إعادة ترتيب أمور المؤسسة العسكرية، بعد أن ألغى إردوغان بمرسوم رئاسي كل الكليات والمدارس العسكرية، لتحلّ محلها جامعة الدفاع الوطني، ويترأسها الآن بروفيسور في التاريخ العثماني مقرب منه، كما يترأس مدنيون مقربون منه الكليات العسكرية التابعة للجامعة المذكورة التي يتم الانضمام إليها وفق معايير ستساهم على المدى المتوسط والبعيد في “أسلمة المؤسسة العسكرية”. 

ونشرت صحف المعارضة خلال الفترة الماضية الكثير من الأخبار والمقالات عن نشاط الشركة وفعاليات صاحبها، الذي قيل إنّ له دوراً مباشراً في تدريب عناصر الفصائل المسلحة في ليبيا منذ العام 2013. كما أدى دوراً مهماً في نقل المرتزقة السوريين إلى ليبيا والإشراف على تحركاتهم فيها، وهو الحال أيضاً في كاراباخ. 

وأشار عضو البرلمان عن الشعب الجمهوري آونال جاويكوز إلى اعترافات الرئيس إردوغان الذي تحدث العام الماضي عن “إرسال مجموعات متنوعة للقتال في ليبيا”، وتساءل: “يا ترى، ما هي هذه المجموعات المتنوعة؟ وما علاقة الشركة المذكورة بها؟ وما هو عدد عناصرها؟ وكم تدفع الدولة التركية لها؟ وما هي مهماتها الخاصة في ليبيا أو سوريا أو أي مكان آخر إن كان موجوداً؟”.

وقد يفسر ذلك دعوة كلّ من آوللا جالبكا وأندريه هان، عضوي البرلمان عن حزب اليسار الحكومة الألمانية، “لمتابعة نشاط الشركة المذكورة وعلاقاتها بالجالية التركية والجوامع الإسلامية الموجودة في ألمانيا”، كما لم يخفِ الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون قلقه “من النشاط السري التركي بين الجاليات الإسلامية في بلاده وأوروبا عموماً”.

وجاء التغيير المفاجئ في النظام الداخلي للقوات المسلّحة نهاية الشهر الماضي، إذ سيتسنى للمخابرات وقوى الأمن الداخلي استخدام ما تشاء من أسلحة الجيش، ليزيد من شكوك المعارضة التي اتهمت الرئيس إردوغان سابقاً “بالعمل على تشكيل ميليشيات مسلحة موالية له مباشرة لاستخدامها في الحالات الطارئة”، من دون أن يتسنى لأحزاب وقوى المعارضة أن تتصدى لمشاريع إردوغان ومخططاته ما دام يملك الأغلبية في البرلمان ويسيطر على جميع مرافق الدولة وأجهزتها، وأهمها الجيش والمخابرات والأمن والمال والقضاء، و95% من وسائل الإعلام الحكومي والخاصّ.

ويسعى إردوغان لإسكات معارضيه من خلال الغرامات المالية التي تفرضها السلطات الحكومية على صحف المعارضة، في الوقت الذي يقرر المجلس الأعلى للإذاعة والتلفزيون إغلاق محطات التلفزيون أو فرض غرامات مالية كبيرة عليها، بحجة أنها تبث أخباراً تتناقض مع “المصالح الوطنية والقومية للأمة والدولة التركية”، وهو ما يعني الاعتراض على سياساته.

 ويفسر كل ذلك هجوم الرئيس إردوغان على قيادات أحزاب المعارضة وكل من يعارضه، واتهامهم جميعاً “بالإرهاب والخيانة الوطنية والعمالة والتجسس”. بدوره، يلاحق الأمن والقضاء كل من يعترض على هذا الكلام، ويوجه له تهمة الإساءة إلى رئيس الجمهورية، التي تتراوح عقوبتها بين عام و3 أعوام في السجن.

وتقول المعارضة إن ما يهدف إليه الرئيس التركي هو منع معارضيه في اليمين واليسار من الحديث عن أسرار الأنشطة التركية، الرسمية منها وغير الرسمية، عسكرياً وأمنياً واستخباراتياً في الخارج، وبشكل خاص في سوريا وليبيا والعراق والصومال والدول المجاورة لها، والآن في أذربيجان وأوكرانيا. 

وتبقى جميع أسئلة المعارضة واستفساراتها من دون جواب، ما دام الغموض يخيم بالكامل على نشاط شركة “سادات” وفعالياتها. وقد قال آوزكور آوزال، المتحدث باسم حزب الشعب الجمهوري، “أن لا فرق بينها وبين شركة “بلاك ووتر” الأميركية السيئة الصيت في العراق ودول عربية وأفريقية أخرى”.

وعبّر آيتون جيراي، عضو البرلمان عن الحزب “الجيد”، “عن قلقه من فعاليات الشركة المذكورة السرية في ليبيا”، وقال عنها “إنها تتواجد هناك لتحقيق التوازن مع شركة “واغنر” الروسية التي تدعم قوات الجنرال حفتر”.

وفي جميع الحالات، ومع استمرار الغموض الذي يخيم على فعاليات الشركة المذكورة، يعرف الجميع أنَّ لها دوراً مهماً جداً في خدمة أهداف الرئيس التركي ومخططاته ومشاريعه على الصعيدين الداخلي والخارجي، من دون أن يتسنى لأحد الدخول في التفاصيل، ما دام الموضوع له علاقة بالأمن الوطني والقومي لتركيا، ولا يحدد أحد مفاهيمه ومعاييره إلا  إردوغان وحده!

TURKEY RUNS OUT OF MONEY FOR ITS MERCENARIES

 South Front

01.01.2021

On Janury 1, dozens of mercenaries from Siryan Idlib staged a protest in Tripoli’s Police College in Libya. Militants demand payment of salaries from their Turkish bosses.

According to the Al-Saa’a 24 news channel, the Syrian mercenaries have not been paid for five months. Each mercenary’s late due reportedly amount to $10,000.

According to numerous sources, it is known that the amount of contracts for Syrian mercenaries ranges from $1,500 to $2,000, depending on their military specialties and responsibilities.

Despite the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) in October, Turkey intends to deploy a new branch of mercenaries in Libya to support the GNA, according to the recent claims by the Siryan Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

According to the SOHR, the number of mercenaries sent to Libya is estimated at 18,000. A significant part of them are under age of 18.

Turkey is actively deploying mercenaries from Syria to implement its national interests in different world regions. The recent Nagorno-Karabakh war, where more than 2,500 of its fighters were reportedly deployed alongside with Azerbaijani forces, demanded significant financial efforts from Ankara. Moreover, there are reports that Turkey is going to send mercenaries to Kashmir to fight against Indian forces.

At the same time, Turkish proxies have recently failed a large scale attack on the town of Ain Issa held by the Syrian Democratic Forces in Siryan Raqqa governorate.

Turkish desire to restore the greatness of the Ottoman Empire faces a lack of funds to carry out these ambitious plans.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Erdogan Used 3000 Syrian Terrorists in the Nagorno Karabach Battles

 ARABI SOURI

Hamzat terrorist group north Syria - Erdogan Muslim Brotherhood Army - فرقة الحمزات الإرهابية

Erdogan sent at least three thousand Syrian terrorists to fight on the side of Azerbaijan in the battles of Nagorno Karabach against the Armenian army and the Artsakh defense army, reports reveal.

The Turkish madman Erdogan took advantage of the brainwashed mercenaries from the ‘armed Syrian opposition’ groups operating in northern Syria in his military adventures in Libya and now in the contested region of Artsakh – Nagorno Karabach. Hamzat, Sultan Murad Brigade, and Sultan Sulaiman Shah (Aamshat) were the main groups Erdogan recruited his cross-border mercenaries from.

Despite their sacrifice for their deity Erdogan, the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists of the above-mentioned groups and the families of their killed and injured ones are still waiting for the balance of their pay.

Erdogan paid 10,000 Turkish Lira for each terrorist as a down payment in exchange for joining the fight in the Caucasian conflict he ignited, the balance was supposed to be paid later on, yet to be done. The families of the killed and injured terrorists, however, haven’t received their blood money until now, some of the ‘armed opposition’ propaganda outlets started reporting.

One of those media outlets reported that most of the casualties among the Syrian terrorists were from bombing by the Artsakh Defence Forces.

Terrorists 'media' reporting on Syrian mercenaries sent by Erdogan to Nagorno Karabakh
Terrorists ‘media’ reporting on Syrian mercenaries sent by Erdogan to Nagorno Karabakh

A report published by one of the ‘armed Syrian opposition’ organizations in early last November stated that two thousand mercenaries were transferred to the battlefields via Turkey in the second half of September, many of them were civilians with no military experience and have joined the fight because of the miserable living situation in the regions controlled by Erdogan forces, the Turkish Army and its Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups, in northern Syria.

One of the terrorists described to a media outlet how their movements were only at night in Azerbaijan. They’d arrive at the airport and immediately taken to a military academy by military buses and cars. They stayed in the academy for 4 days, handed over weapons, uniforms, and military badges with engraved numbers on them then were taken to a camp to join the fight.

The 25-years-old terrorist added that the Syrian mercenaries were sent to the battlefront for direct fighting and breaking into ‘enemy lines’ while the Azeri military was ‘a step behind’. This terrorist, who had earlier military experience killing Syrian civilians, complained that fighting in Karabach was very difficult, the terrain was rigid, they had to walk for long distances in mountain narrow strips to reach the battleground. Injured mercenaries were taken to a hospital in the Azeri capital Baku for treatment and were treated much better by the Azeris than how the Turks treated them, the terrorist concluded.

Erdogan propaganda outlets and his officials repeatedly denied using Syrian terrorists in the Sultan wannabe military adventures in both Libya and Karabach, despite the multiple reports by the terrorists themselves in both areas and even after the Armenian army arrested two of them during the battles and the Azeri and the Turks refused to include them in the prisoners’ exchange deal after the Russian-brokered ceasefire was established.

President Bashar Assad slammed Erdogan’s abuse of the living conditions of the Syrians in the regions under the Turkish occupation in the Turkish madman’s military adventures and in instigating the crisis in Nagorno Karabach:

CHAOS AND ARMED CONFLICTS: U.S. STRATEGY TO DISMANTLE RUSSIA IS ALREADY WORKING

South Front

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

In 2020, there have been several notable developments, that all seem to have been happening along Russia’s borders and in key regions developments in which influencing the Russian position on the international scene.

These include:

  • Ukraine’s refusal to seek peace in its East with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and various questionable policies.
  • Western-backed protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, with a ‘school teacher-turned-politician’ challenging him with an insignificant share of the vote in the presidential election. She received wide support from the West, especially from heavily US-aligned states such as Poland and the Baltics.
  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other groups in Syria are being supported openly, and not so openly, by the United States and sabotage the further diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Syria.
  • The situation in Central Asia is rather exacerbated, with an evident increase in ISIS activity in Afghanistan, alongside various terrorist elements appearing near its borders with Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries. The Russian Security Service – FSB – is hard at work in countering various ISIS and other terror cells on the territory of the Russian Federation, and reports such as these are frequent, meaning that there appears to be a network that is successful in either moving terrorist elements into the country, or recruiting them there.
  • There also was the Armenian-Azerbaijan War in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Russia didn’t directly involve itself in, since the fight was for the self-proclaimed independent republic of Artsakh, and Armenia never officially asked for assistance. Regardless, with the Peace Deal it brokered on November 10th, there have been numerous voices in Armenia blaming Russia for the defeat. And that is even though it essentially saved it from an even bigger fiasco and loss of territory. At the same time, despite being the victor, Azerbaijan simply received what it was promised with the Minsk agreements, with the addition of Shusha. There are protests against Russia in Azerbaijan, a country in which any non-government sanctioned protest is snuffed, violently. There are calls that Russia stole the “glorious victory”, while in Armenia there are calls to renew hostilities, while the Russian peacekeepers are there and somehow force their hand in the fight.
  • Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian militants to South Caucasus, and there are claims that it is even reportedly attempting to relocate families from Syria’s Afrin and other areas to the parts of Karabakh that were given to Azerbaijan. This is likely to also provide a fresh extremist presence in the region.
  • Turkey, once again, appeared to be shifting its gaze towards Crimea, but also cooperate with Ukraine in terms of selling UAVs to it and other military equipment.

All of these developments, somehow, almost entirely coincide with a report which the RAND Corporation released back in 2019.

The report is called “Extending Russia” with the subtitle “Competing from Advantageous Ground.” A short description of the report reads the following:

“The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as measures that would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence. This report deliberately covers a wide range of military, economic, and political policy options. Its recommendations are directly relevant to everything from military modernization and force posture to economic sanctions and diplomacy; consequently, it speaks to all the military services, other parts of U.S. government that have a hand in foreign policy, and the broader foreign and defense policy audience.”

Notably, the report suggests that the following “Geopolitical measures” need to be employed in order to counter Russia’s spreading influence and capabilities to provide an adequate answer to an extraordinary situation.

This chapter describes six possible U.S. moves in the current geopolitical competition:

  • providing lethal arms to Ukraine,
  • resuming support to the Syrian rebels,
  • promoting regime change in Belarus,
  • exploiting Armenian and Azeri tensions,
  • intensifying attention to Central Asia,
  • isolating Transnistria (a Russian-occupied enclave within Moldova).

There are several other possible geopolitical moves discussed in other RAND research but not directly evaluated here—including intensifying NATO’s relationship with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s position in the Arctic, and checking Russia’s attempts to secure its influence in Asia.

Ukraine

Between 2014 and 2016, the US provided $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine. These funds have been used to train Ukrainian military forces and provided nonlethal military equipment, including counterartillery and countermortar radars, secure communications, logistics systems, tactical unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, and medical equipment.

According to RAND, the US could increase its military assistance to Ukraine, or increase its calls to allow Kiev into NATO.

“Expanding U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including lethal military assistance, would likely increase the costs to Russia, in both blood and treasure, of holding the Donbass region. More Russian aid to the

separatists and an additional Russian troop presence would likely be required, leading to larger expenditures, equipment losses, and Russian casualties. The latter could become quite controversial at home, as it did when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.”

Eastern Ukraine is already a significant drain on Russian resources, exacerbated by the accompanying Western sanctions. Increasing U.S. military aid would certainly drive up the Russian costs, but doing so could also increase the loss of Ukrainian lives and territory or result in a disadvantageous peace settlement. This would generally be seen as a serious setback for U.S. policy.

What’s going on in reality? There appears to be no conclusive peace settlement in Ukraine, and anti-Russian policy continues moving forward full speed. The Kiev regime, at large controlled from Washington, is intentionally sabotaging attempts to de-escalate the situation and publicly preparing for a new military operation in eastern Ukraine. Recently, pro-Kiev sources started laying great hopes on the Turkish military aid. For sure, the US is also involved. In August 2020, incoming US President Joe Biden promised to provide Ukraine with even more lethal weapons. In late 2019, the Trump administration also approved several sales of “defensive lethal weapons” to Ukraine.

As such this part of RAND’s suggestion appears to be moving, more or less, according to plan.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Syria

“In 2015, Russia’s intervention in Syria cost an estimated $2.4 million to $4 million a day, according to the Moscow Times and IHS Janes’ estimates. 34 Given the size of Russia’s defense budget ($50 billion that year), the sum might not be significant in and of itself.”

Increased U.S. support to the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition could perpetuate and intensify a civil war that had begun to wind down, thereby imposing attritional costs on both Russia and Iran.

RAND believes that such support should also reduce the “moderate opposition’s” reliance on the better-armed, more extremist groups and ultimately might improve the willingness and ability of moderate opposition forces to combat the “more extremist elements.” Now, first of all RAND doesn’t even deny that the most of “moderate opposition” is made up of extremists, who are fighting against even more extreme elements.

At the same time, the reality of the situation is this: the US, with all its claims of complete withdrawal from Syria, simply employed the SDF separatist leadership as a tool of sabotaging the peace settlement in Syria, while Washington is looting Syria’s oil fields. US companies exploit Syrian oil resources. Some of the money is used to bankroll the SDF.

The Russian side has repeatedly also claimed that ISIS and ISIS-affiliated fighters were being trained and received improved weaponry in the US-controlled areas of Syria.

Unlike Ukraine, the United States does not have a single actor to aid in the fight in Syria but rather faces a plethora of groups—often with murky affiliations—increasing the chances of weapons falling into the wrong hands.

“Supporting the rebels could run counter to the most prominent objective of the Trump administration’s Middle East foreign policy—fighting radical Islamist terrorism.”

In the highly unlikely event of total success—if Russia were to abandon the Assad government and the opposition were to somehow ‘defeat’ Damascus—the result would be a major geopolitical setback for Moscow but also a major contraction in its foreign commitments and associated expenditures, not to mention a huge responsibility for the United States and its allies to assume.

At the same time, it appears that supporting the “moderate rebels” isn’t proving effective enough and Israel is picking up the slack with targeting various Syrian and alleged Iranian positions in the areas under Damascus’ control.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Essentially, there were some attempts, but none of them are any significant, since the fight in Syria appears to be too far gone.

Likewise, according to RAND, this course of action might have been viable a few years ago, when the armed opposition was stronger and less radicalized. Under current circumstances, the most that expanded U.S. aid could likely do would be to perpetuate a conflict that has already destabilized an entire region. Russia might be forced to pay a bit more for its Syrian commitment but only at the cost of continued regional turbulence, societal radicalization, and increased civilian casualties and displaced personnel.

Belarus

Belarus is Russia’s neighbour and important ally. It provides a buffer between Russia and major NATO countries and is the initial link in Russia’s ground lines of communication between the mainland and Kaliningrad— the Russian enclave entirely encircled by Lithuania and Poland. Already host to Russian forces, Belarus features prominently in many notional conflicts among the United States, NATO, and Russia.

In a zero-sum world, denying Russia its one and only true ally would be a clear geopolitical and ideological gain for the West. It would bring an end to “Europe’s last dictatorship,” a long-standing U.S. policy goal.

“Starting revolutions is not easy, and the United States lending public support to opposition movements does not guarantee that they will be successful. In 2007, Gallup found that 60 percent of Belarusian respondents believed democracy was important and 47 percent believed it was “somewhat” or “very” important for Belarus to have an active opposition party.”

RAND considered regime change in Belarus as one of the most significant escalations, but the attempts have all but failed, and with Russia actually not having to lift a finger.

Even despite Lukashenko attempt to get some concessions from Russia prior to the protests in the country.

“Promoting regime change in Belarus is one of the most escalatory options considered in this report. Such an effort probably would not succeed and could provoke a strong Russian response, including the possibility of military action. Such a reaction might extend Russia by requiring the nation to commit resources to preserve its grasp over Belarus, thereby provoking the United States and its European allies to respond with harsher sanctions, but the result would be a general deterioration of the security environment in Europe and a setback for U.S. policy.”

Currently, protests in Belarus are still on-going, but they’ve barely achieved any real progress in the regime change agenda. However, the Western/NATO interference in the internal situation in Belarus is an undeniable fact.

Lukashenko may be making some interesting claims regarding Russia, or attempting to play tough in order to get a discount from Moscow on natural gas, or some other commodity, but at the same time is wise enough to continue actively communicating with Russian President Vladimir Putin and remain a formal ally.

Nagorno-Karabah: Armenia and Azerbaijan

The RAND analysis begins with reminding that in 2008, the Georgian-Russian relations with damaged severely, after a few days of war and the resulting South Ossetia and Abkhazia as separate countries.

Russia also plays a key role with Azerbaijan and Armenia, particularly over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ethnically Armenian but geographically located within Azerbaijan, Nagorno- Karabakh’s bid to join the Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic during the latter years of the Soviet Union was denied by the Soviet Politburo because of the risk of encouraging secessionist movements elsewhere.

According to RAND, the United States could extend Russia in the Caucasus in two ways. First, the United States could push for a closer NATO relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan, likely leading Russia to strengthen its military presence in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, and southern Russia.

Alternatively, the United States could try to induce Armenia to break with Russia.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

“Increased U.S. involvement in the region could produce additional economic benefits as well. The Caspian Sea remains a key producer of both oil and natural gas. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there are “48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves in the Caspian basins. Almost 75 percent of oil reserves and 67 percent of natural gas reserves are located within 100 miles of the coast.”

According to the analysis, resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is likely a prerequisite to Armenia breaking with Russia, but it is unclear precisely how the United States or NATO could resolve the decades-old conflict without privileging one side and antagonizing the other. NATO has encouraged both parties to resolve the conflict through the Minsk Group—led by the Russians.

Currently, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the six-week war that started on September 27th, 2020 was due to several factors.

Notably, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as an avid supporter of the West worked to the benefit of what RAND describes and distanced Armenia from Russia with questionable policy.

In turn, Turkey, in support of Azerbaijan saw a chance, prepared and began to largely pull the strings on Baku’s offensive on the region.

Still, Russia managed to somehow salvage the situation for Yerevan, by brokering a peace deal which saw Azerbaijan get what it was supposed to be given under the Minsk Agreements, with the addition of Shusha.

Pashinyan, however, continued blaming Russia, the Armenian population, foreign countries and such for the failure and the gross mismanagement of Armenia’s forces in the war.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev presents the war as “gloriously won” but there are some elements which are protesting and claiming that Moscow actually robbed Baku of its “glorious victory.”

There are anti-Russian protests, in a country in which all non-government approved protests are violently stopped.

The US made some claims for peace and so on, as did many Western countries, with France even attempting to somehow mediate the conflict, but only barely.

Paris attempted to prove itself as a valuable ally to Armenia, but in the end, it simply said “we are with you, our Armenian brothers” and all they provided were empty words.

In Armenia, in order for Pashinyan and the pro-Western leadership to remain, political arrests of the opposition began. As such, support for Russia still remains rather low, and it is playing to the measure that RAND outlined in April 2019. In the current conditions, pro-Western forces in the region would continue their efforts to destabilize the region creating chaos near the Russian border and setting conditions for the NATO expansion there.

Central Asia

Russia is part of two economic ventures related to Central Asia: the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative. Russia has benefited from both, although in the case of the former, partners might have been harmed economically. There might be steps the United States and allies could take to reduce Russia’s benefits from both of these.

Engaging more with Central Asia could have modest benefits. Expanding Central Asian connectivity to the rest of the world could reduce that area’s trade with Russia. It must be noted, however, that economic growth within these countries would likely have the opposite effect and increase their trade with Russia because economic size and trade are correlated.

Now, little of this has succeeded in the year. Notably, and not in the vein which RAND describes is that militant activity in Afghanistan, as well as along its borders with the CSTO countries has increased, which Russia sees as a threat.

There are frequent reports of the FSB arresting various terrorist elements that either came from Central Asian republics or were recruited from groups from there. There is little evidence that the US has anything to do with that, but there are some reports that unknown black hawks have been extracting militants from all around, and they’ve resurfaced in northern Afghanistan, after a while.

The US efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and is attempting to counter various projects in the Eurasian Economic Union, which Russia is part of such as the Nord Stream 2, but they are unrelated to Central Asia. In conclusion, regarding this, RAND appears to be a bit far from what’s been carried out, or if such measures are being implemented – they’re not being effective.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Moldova

Transnistria is a Russian-speaking enclave within Moldova that currently hosts a Russian peacekeeping force and army base.

Officially, Russian policy toward Transnistria is ambiguous. Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept includes only a single, rather inarticulate statement:

Russia strongly advocates a political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts in the post-Soviet space, specifically, Russia works within the existing multilateral negotiating mechanism to find an inclusive solution to the Transnistrian issue, respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and neutral status of the Republic of Moldova in determining the special status of Transnistria.

The United States could encourage Transnistria’s youth (who, according to some journalistic accounts, might be more pro-West than their elders) to push their pseudo-state to leave the Russian orbit.

Moldovan cooperation in an effort to expel the Russians would not be easy to secure. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Moldova’s pro-Russian President Igor Dodon stated, “A NATO office in Chisinau [Moldova’s capital], in a neutral country, is a provocation. I do not want this. I want neither NATO nor this Russia-led [military] alliance as far as armed forces are concerned.”

There’s been very limited movement throughout 2020, but it is likely that activities have been more focused on Belarus, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, and Moldova has been left for sometime in the near (or far future). The pro-Western presidential candidate, Maia Sandu, won the 2020 election in Moldova, and she’s already promoting the ideal of the need of the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force from Transnistria. This move sets conditions for the increase of instability.

RAND’s General Recommendations

Extending Russia through geopolitical competition is a fundamentally difficult and dangerous proposition. One might bait Russia into extending its foreign commitments, but only at the risk of serious setbacks to local U.S. partners. Even if such efforts succeeded in generating Russian withdrawals, the result would be the opposite of an extension.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Any geopolitical moves to extend Russia would also need to consider other options that (for reasons of length and resources) were not considered here in depth—namely, intensifying NATO’s cooperation with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s claims in the Arctic, and checking its influence in the Arctic.

Many of these are not exactly spot on, and whether they’re entirely connected to what’s going on comes down to conspiracy theories. However, it is fact that within a year and a half of the publishing, many of these recommendations have been implemented.

There has been a regime change attempt in Belarus, which is still on-going. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to warn for Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russia had to mediate, deploy peacekeepers and further resources, as well as is being accused of both sides for either losing the war for Armenia, or stealing away a bigger victory for Azerbaijan.

Militants are being delivered to South Caucasus, and even families are being relocated there from Syria.

The US and the “moderate rebels” in Syria are still operating, albeit not as actively as before, but Israel is there to provide assistance by bombing Syrian and alleged Iranian targets.

Attempts to spread chaos in Central Asia are apparent, and the FSB continues arresting various extremist elements, but there are likely more who are roaming around and entering the country through various channels.

It is unknown what will happen in Moldova, as of yet, but the trend is alredy seen.

Another thing that could be added is cooperating with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, assisting in the forming of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, making pushes to repeat that questionable “success” in other countries such as Montenegro, and more.

Regardless, pressure on Moscow is being exerted from quite a few directions, at the same time, and it is unlikely that under US President Joe Biden this will end. After all, his chosen aides all plan to improve relations with allies, while countering Russia’s spreading influence. Namely in Ukraine, since Biden appears to have a soft spot for the country from which he and his son allegedly funneled billions. Ukraine, and Eastern Ukraine, could also be the best direction from which to target Russia.

Things are still developing on many fronts, and the pieces are yet to fall squarely on the board.

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Israel Enjoys Last Weeks Of Love With Trump. Azerbaijan Controls Kalbajar District In Karabkah

On November 25, Azerbaijani troops entered the district of Kalbajar in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The district was handed over to Baku under the ceasefire deal reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan to put an end to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War earlier in November.

In total, Armenian forces were set to hand over the following districts: Agdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin, excluding the Lachin corridor. Agdam and Kalbajar are already in the hands of Azerbaijani forces. Lachin will be handed over on December 1. Withdrawing Armenians are destroying their properties and even evacuating graves of their relatives. Just a day ago, on November 24, Armenians troops blew up their barracks in Kalbajar.

In these conditions, the presence of the Russian peacekeepers remains the only guarantee of the security of the local Armenian population. And Russian forces already suffered first casualties as a part of this mission. On November 23, a Russian peacekeeper, four employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were wounded, and an Azerbaijani officer was killed in a mine explosion near the village of Magadiz. A joint group, that also included representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was searching bodies of those killed in the war.

A large number of IEDs, not exploded ammunition and projectiles are an important security factor that prevents the potential return of displaced civilians to Nagorno-Karabkah. A group of Russian sappers has been already working on demining key roads and areas in the Russian zone of responsibility. Baku also vowed to demine territories that its forces captured and already started building a new road linking the town of Shusha and Ahmedbeyli.

In the coming months, the security and humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabkah will likely improve, but there are almost zero chances the Armenian population that fled the Azerbaijani advance would return. Therefore, the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabakh is in fact empty and the Azerbaijani leadership would have to launch some settlement program if it wants re-populate the region.

Pro-Kurdish sources, waging a propaganda campaign against the traditional Azerbaijani ally, Turkey, already claimed that Ankara is planning to settle families of fighters of Turkish-backed Syrian militant groups in Karabakh. According to reports, Turkish authorities opened 2 offices in the Turkish-occupied Syrian town of Afrin for this purpose. If such plans even exist, it is unlikely that Azerbaijan would be happy to support them. The one thing is to use a cheap cannon fodder recruited by the Big Turkish Brother and the very different thing is to allow multiple Syrian radicals to become the permanent factor of your internal security. The implementation of such a plan would inevitably turn the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabkah into the hotbed of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Israel has been desperately exploiting the last months of the current Trump presidency term. Early on November 25, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on targets in the southern countryside of Damascus and the province of Quneitra. According to Syrian state media, missiles were launched from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights. As of now, the Syrian side denies any casualties and claims that the strike caused a material damage only. Pro-Israeli sources insist that the strike led to multiple casualties among Iranian-backed forces and Iranian personnel.

This became the second Israeli strike on Syria in the last 7 days. The previous one took place on November 18 and hit the very same areas, including Damascus International Airport. The activation of the Israeli military activity in the region indicates that Tel Aviv expects a particular decrease of unconditional support that it was receiving from the United States under the Trump administration. Therefore, it seeks to use the last days of this 4-year-long honeymoon as effective as possible. Even more Israeli and potentially US actions against Iranian interests in the region and Iran itself could be expected in the coming weeks.

Related

IRGC RELEASES ALLEGED PHOTO OF AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT IN SNIPER’S SIGHTS, IRAN SAYS PRESENCE OF MILITANTS IN KARABAKH UNACCEPTABLE

South Front

IRGC Releases Alleged Photo of Azerbaijani President In Sniper's Sights, Iran Says Presence Of Militants In Karabakh Unacceptable

In a reminder that Iran opposes any further Azerbaijani ambitions in Nagorno-Karabakh and beyond, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released an interesting photograph.

It shows Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in the sights of an Iranian sniper, while he was visiting the Khodaafarin bridge at the Karabakh-Iran border.

Earlier, on November 16th, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that no changes have occurred in Iran’s northwestern borderlines.

This happened in reference to the peace deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia after several weeks of conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region near the Iranian borders.

Stating that no change has occurred at the borderlines, he stressed that Iran will never accept anything other than what has been announced by the two sides.

Khatibzadeh added that the corridor that has become controversial these days is simply a transit route, the case of which is closely monitored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

He further said that Iran welcomes any peaceful settlement of the case as it did over the past three decades.

He reiterated that no change has occurred at the Iranian borders and will never occur in the future.

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry knowledge, the Syrian militants must have already left the region, the spokesman said that a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia will benefit the entire region.

The spokesman, however, said Iran will not tolerate presence of any foreign elements in the region.

About killing of Iranian border guards in northwest of the country, Khatibzadeh said Iran’s response to such measures is strong.

A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says there is no place for Syrian militants close to Iran’s northern borders.

“There is no place for Wahhabi and Takfiri terrorists among people of Azerbaijan who are known for their love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s progeny, and track records of such groups are very bleak,” Ali Akbar Velayati said in an address to a webinar held to discuss Ayatollah Khamenei’s views on the Karabakh region. “The people of Azerbaijan are capable of liberating their land and the presence of Wahhabi terrorists in north of Iran’s borders [with Azerbaijan] will be fruitless.”

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عندما تعود أذربيجان «سوفياتيّة» وأرمينيا إلى بيت الطاعة

محمد صادق الحسيني

بعيداً عن كلام الإعلام واستعراض الشاشات…

اتفاق قره باغ الثلاثيّ بين موسكو وباكو ويريفان،

ليس هو الإنجاز الذي كانت ترمي اليه أذربيجان تماماً، لكنه الهزيمة المرّة الأكيدة لتركيا العثمانية الأطلسية المتغطرسة وارتياحاً واسعاً لإيران، ونجاحاً باهراً لروسيا…

فوقف القتال في القوقاز الجنوبي سيفضي عملياً حسب مصادر وثيقة الصلة بالنزاع الى ما يلي:

هذه هي خلاصة ما حصل من توافق بين قادة روسيا وأرمينيا وأذربيجان في الساعات الماضية حول قره باغ.

1-

استرجاع الأذربيجانيّين أراضيهم المحتلة منذ نحو 30 عاماً.

2-

عودة نحو مليون مهجّر أذربيجاني الى بيوتهم وأوطانهم.

3-

استعادة قره باغ موقعها كإقليم خاص داخل أذربيجان كما كان منذ عهد ستالين.

4-

عودة أرمينيا الى بيت الطاعة الروسيّ بعد أن حاولت عبر نفوذ غربي أميركي أن تخرج من الفضاء الروسي هلى الطريقة الجورجيّة.

5-

خروج أردوغان الأطلسي من الفضاء الروسي القوقازي بخفي حنين.

6-

تحصين الروس لسلطات نفوذهم العميقة أصلاً في أذربيجان سواء في أركان القيادة العسكرية الأذربيجانية او من خلال السيدة مهربان زوجة علييف ونائبة الرئيس المعروفة بميلها الروسيّ المعتق.

7-

تحصين النفوذ الروسي في عالم الطاقة القوقازي من خلال مشروع ربط الغاز التركماني الذي اشترته موسكو بخط الغاز الأذربيجاني الذي يمرّ من جورجيا وعلى تخوم حدود أرمينيا الشماليّة.

8-

استعادة روسيا موقعها المركزي في مجموعة بلدان حوض الخزر (بحر الخزر أو بحر قزوين) كطرف أساسي ومؤثر بالشراكة مع إيران.

9-

إعادة الزخم لعلاقاتها الاستراتيجية مع إيران بعد أن ساهمت في إطفاء نار الغدر واحتمالات العدوان على الأمن القومي الإيراني من بوابة اللعب بالصراع العرقي على حدودها الشمالية.

10-

تأديب تركيا وتقليم أظافرها في أذربيجان من خلال العمل الفعلي والجادّ على جدولة خروج مستشاريها وقواتها من باكو ومعها المستشارون الإسرائيليون وكلّ ما استقدم من رجال عصابات إرهابيّة الى منطقة النزاع.

كل ذلك سيحصل من خلال وجود عسكريّ روسيّ سيبدأ بآلاف المراقبين الروس ومئات المدرّعات ولا يعلم مدى حجمه المستقبليّ إلا الله والراسخون في علم الفضاء السوفياتي.

لقد صبرت موسكو كثيراً على قيادة يريفان التي حاولت التمرّد على الفضاء الروسي.

وصبرت أكثر على قيادة باكو وحليفها التركيّ المستجدّ والدخيل على الفضاء الروسيّ في القوقاز منذ ان حسمت معارك الحرب العالمية الثانية طبيعة هذا الفضاء الاستراتيجيّ.

كما استطاعت موسكو أن تعمل بتؤدة وبخبرة عالية أمنية وعسكرية وسياسية وديبلوماسية اكتسبتها من الميدان السوريّ، أن تؤمن ظهرها بالحليف الإيراني وتمنحه جائزة ترضية في حدوده الشمالية من دون أن يخوض حرباً مكلفة لأجل ذلك في القوقاز.

ومسك الختام كان عملها الدؤوب والحثيث لتحضير كلّ ذلك بعيداً عن الواجهة المحتدمة للصراع من أجل اقتناص اللحظة الاستراتيجية العالمية لفرض التسوية الإقليمية لهذا الصراع الناريّ والعدو الأميركي في لحظة انشغال وانهماك في استحقاقاته الانتخابيّة وتداعياتها التي جعلته يتخبط في مستنقع اللامعقول والشلل الاستراتيجيّ.

درس لكل مَن يريد أن يعتبر كيف يتم حسم معركة كبرى مفروضة عليه، من دون إطلاق رصاصة واحدة، اللهم عدا الطوافة العسكرية التي سقطت قرباناً للإعلان عن الصفقة…!

هي السنن الكونية والأقدار يحصد نتائجها مَن يتقن السباحة في بحرها.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

International Reaction to Turkey’s Aggressive Foreign Policy Approach

05.11.2020 Author: Valery Kulikov

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According to numerous observers, the “aggressive approach” the Turkish leader R. Erdogan implies in Turkey’s foreign policy every day evokes more and more hostility and opposition across the world.

It is through the fault of Ankara that many of the faded conflicts have flared up with renewed vigor lately. Thus, in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey is striving for shelf hydrocarbons, causing a wave of indignation not only from Greece, but also from the European Union. And although the clash of interests here has not yet reached outright bloodshed, nevertheless, Turkey is no longer shy about ramming opponents with their ships and vessels. This, in turn, causes an increase in the degree of tensions both within the EU and between NATO member states, the outcome of which so far few can predict. The drift towards divisions is on in spite of Washington’s calls to all NATO member states urging them to “keep Turkey in the West.”

After the terrorist attack on October 16 in the Paris suburbs of Conflans-Saint-Honorine, when an 18-year-old Islamist, motivated by religious enmity, killed a school history and geography teacher, a new diplomatic scandal erupted between Turkey and France, which significantly increased tensions between these countries in Libya, where they support opposing sides of the conflict.

Numerous media voices are increasingly citing factual evidence of Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict, and not only in the form of supplying weapons there in violation of the imposed international embargo, but also sending numerous mercenaries from the war zone in Syria.

Recently, the growing criticism of Turkey on sending mercenaries not only to Syria and Libya, but also to the Karabakh conflict zone, has been confirmed by the intelligence services of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. As a result, today no one, including Turkey itself, can claim that in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it acts as an impartial or neutral party, since it views this conflict as an opportunity to expand its influence in another neighboring region, the Southern Caucasus.

The summit of the EU states, which ended in late October, condemned the aggressive rhetoric and actions of Turkey aimed at the EU states, and the head of the European Council Charles Michel indicated that the EU leaders would discuss further actions with regard to Turkey at the planned summit in December. “We have expressed our determination to make Ankara respect us. Turkey has not yet chosen a positive path in relations with the EU. We condemn the recent unilateral actions of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, provocations and aggressive rhetoric against the EU countries, which is absolutely unacceptable,” Charles Michel said on October 29 following the EU summit held in the video conference format.

NATO also declares its “bewilderment” by Turkey’s actions, openly hinting to Erdogan about “unpleasant moments” and readiness to take a tougher position with regard to Ankara.

Today Turkey has strained its relations with many countries. In addition to the deepening conflict with the United States (after the acquisition and testing of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system), France, Greece and the EU as a whole, the list of Turkey’s “opponents” includes Israel (due to the conflict over the Palestinian problem), Syria (where Erdogan introduced Turkish troops), Iran (with which Ankara has intensified contradictions because of Erdogan’s actions in Syria), Saudi Arabia (relations with which have especially worsened because of the “Khashoggi case”). Even with the United Arab Emirates Erdogan’s conflict has become so widespread that this struggle unfolds from Morocco to Syria, most fiercely manifesting itself in the field of “soft power”, with mutual accusations of seeking to destabilize the Arab world. The Arab monarchies are particularly concerned about Ankara’s policy in the Persian Gulf, where Turkish troops are now stationed in Qatar, another Turkish base is located in Somalia, and Erdogan himself actively supports and finances the Muslim Brotherhood religious and political movement (banned in Russia – ed.) , to which the monarchies of the Gulf are more than wary.

As a result, as noted not only by the Western, but other regional media, Erdogan risks isolating his country from both the West and Arabs with Persians. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that he has no desire to be a bridge between Europe and the Arab world. Instead, he decided to reshape Turkey in line with its imperial past and make it a competitor to the two regions,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash is being cited.

In response to the aggressiveness of Erdogan’s policy, France has already called off its ambassador from Turkey “for consultations”. The Canadian government, after the Bombardier Recreational Products company “unexpectedly” learned that its engines were being installed on the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 (“Flag Bearer”) operational tactical attack drones (these has been actively used in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh), took the decision to stop supplying them, as well as other weapons to Turkey. Canada stressed that “the use of attack drones by Turkey often goes beyond the framework of agreements within the NATO format.”

For its part, Turkey has no choice but to launch its own production of engines for Turkish drones, or to intensify military-technical cooperation with Ukraine in this regard, which was indirectly confirmed in the speeches of representatives of the industrial and business circles of Turkey, in particular, Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Against the backdrop of these events, the fall of the Turkish lira became uncontrollable, and Ankara no longer has the resources to keep the situation under control. Since the beginning of the year, the lira has fallen by 39% against the US dollar, which has become the worst indicator dynamics among all currencies in Eurasia, despite the fact that the dollar this year is clearly not up to par. The savings of the Turkish state itself continue to fall: according to the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Turkey has spent about $130 billion from its reserves over the past year and a half. At the same time, the reserves do not cease to decline, and if in the summer their volume reached $90 billion, now they have dropped below $80 billion. The situation is complicated by the need to fight the current economic crisis. In addition, unemployment in the country approached 14%, and among young people it reached 25%.

According to the forecasts of the former IMF Managing Director Desmond Lachman, in the event of a liquidity crisis in the world, Turkey will become one of the first countries to declare a default. Under these conditions, in order to mitigate the consequences of the recession, the state again has to borrow a lot from foreign creditors, but because of Erdogan’s aggressive policy, reliable friends (except, perhaps, Ukraine, whose situation is even worse), to whom you can turn for loans, today are getting more and more scarce…

Valery Kulikov, a political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

TURKISH RISK INVESTMENTS IN LOCAL CONFLICTS AND PROSPECTS OF ARMENIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE IN KARABAKH

South Front

In early November, the Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in the directions of the Lachin corridor and the town of Shusha in the Nagorno-Karabakh region slowed down.

The main factors are the fierce resistance of Armenian forces, the complicated terrain, deteriorating weather conditions and overextended communications that run through recently captured territories, where Armenian sabotage units are still able to deliver regular attacks. 9 villages, the capturing of which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced recently, are in fact located inside the territory captured by Azerbaijani forces earlier. This showcases the lack of progress of Baku’s forces in the recent battles.

Commenting on this situation, Armenian sources argue that right now Yerevan has been preparing a powerful counter-attack to push the Azerbaijanis out of the south of Karabakh. The only factor that allegedly stops Armenia from such a move right now is the commitment of the Armenians to the reached ceasefire agreements that Baku blatantly violates.

Meanwhile, the Armenian side continues to regularly release updates about the losses of Azerbaijan in the conflict. The Azerbaijani military allegedly lost 10 UAVs, 21 armoured vehicles, and 103 soldiers in recent clashes. While the high casualties of the sides are not a secret and widely confirmed by visual evidence regularly appearing from the ground, the claims that the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc somehow lost the strategic initiative in the war are at least overestimated. Azerbaijani artillery, combat drones and even warplanes still regularly pound fortified positions, manpower and military equipment of the defending forces. The Armenians do not have enough means and measures to protect its supply columns and manpower from regular and intense airstrikes.

As of November 3, Azerbaijani forces supported by the Turks and Turkish-backed Syrian militants are still deployed within striking distance of Lachin and Shusha. The loss of any of these points may mark the collapse of the entire Armenian defense in the area. Any large Armenian counter-attack, if it does not deliver a rapid and devastating blow to the Turkish-Azerbaijani forces, will likely not allow to achieve a strategic success. Instead, it will uncover the existing Armenian units and increase the number of casualties from air and artillery strikes. The dominance in the air also means an advantage in reconnaissance and target accusation. In these conditions, small regular counter-attacks mostly aimed at disturbing the advancing Azerbaijani-Turkish units, and undermining their efforts to secure the newly captured positions, look more likely. Despite the lack of notable Azerbaijani gains in recent days, the Armenian defense is still in crisis and, if Ankara and Baku succeed in securing communications and regrouping their forces, the new push towards the Lachin-Shusha-Stepanakert triangle seems to be inevitable.

The diplomatic attempts to de-escalate the conflict have so far led to little progress as Turkey and Azerbaijan feel themselves too close to the desired military victory. President Aliyev wants to write his name down in history as the leader that returned Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, while his Turkish counterpart Erdogan sees himself as the sultan of the New Ottoman Empire, pretending be the leader of the entire Turkic world and even wider – of all the muslims in the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.

The entire Turkish foreign policy of previous years was a policy of aggressive advances, confrontations and raising bets. This led to particular diplomatic and economic problems on the international scene and undermined the Turkish national economy. However, it looks like the Turkish leadership believes that the potential revenue of turning the Neo-Ottoman and pan-Turkic declarations into a hard reality will generate revenue of such a scale that it would allow to compensate for existing tactical difficulties. Therefore, the Turkish-Azerbaijani stance towards the further confrontation in Karabakh is not something surprising.

——-

Large Iranian Armored Unit Spotted Moving Towards Nagorno-Karabakh Border (Photos, Video)

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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

Related News

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.

Related

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.

Related

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 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.

Related News

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.

Related

Damascus and Moscow Facing the Siege… Economy First! دمشق وموسكو بمواجهة الحصار.. الاقتصاد أولاً!

October 16, 2020 Arabi Souri

Russian Military Presence in Syria - Hmeimim Airbase - Moscow - Damascus

Moscow and Damascus realize after five years of the Russian presence in Syria that if Russia leaves its political and military position in Syria, the consequences will be very dangerous for the region.

Dima Nassif, director of Al-Mayadeen office in Damascus, wrote (source in Arabic) the following piece for the Lebanese news channel about the latest developments in the Russian – Syrian relations in light of the latest visit of the Russian top delegation to Damascus followed by a Syrian delegation visit to Moscow:

The visit of the Syrian Minister of Presidential Affairs to Moscow at the head of an economic delegation, a few days ago, may have slipped from media circulation, despite its close connection with the completion of the Russian-Syrian talks or agreements that were reached during the recent visit of the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Borisov and the Russian delegation. It is possible to build on it to launch a Russian-Syrian partnership paper to confront sanctions, including the US ‘Caesar Act‘.

The crowding of readings and interpretations of the visit of the Russian delegation and the presence of Sergey Lavrov after eight years to Damascus can be interpreted as just a temporary Russian economic bargaining – to cross the psychological barrier left by the American pressure on Moscow, to prevent the return of the political process to Geneva, and to exert Russian internal pressure by a current opposing the policy of Putin in Syria – that final understandings must be reached on the Constitutional Committee before the Syrian presidential elections in June 2021.

This visit, as the results confirm, is no further than full support for the Syrian state politically and economically, as it does not come under the heading of Russian initiatives to barter or compromise Damascus’s positions on the political process, the liberation of Idlib, or even eastern Syria. Lavrov’s presence in Damascus was against the backdrop of the “Caesar Act”, not Astana or any other address.

Among the deficiencies of some in Moscow against Damascus are its rigid positions in the face of Russian proposals, which calls for flexibility in negotiations on the part of the Syrian side, and the easing of some formalities that may be interpreted in the way that the Syrian leadership does not wish to cooperate or make any progress in the political process before the elections, repeating the phrase that there is no agreement without agreeing on everything.

On the other hand, Damascus believes that the political process should be based on a long-term strategy, to avoid the traps that Turkey might place through its groups within the opposition delegation, as President Al-Assad spoke in his recent meetings to Russian media.

Columns of cars crowded in front of petrol stations in Syrian cities two months ago did not allow to feel Russian support to alleviate the consequences of the “Caesar Act” and its impact. Then came the huge losses in forest fires and agricultural lands in the countrysides of Lattakia, Homs, Tartous, and Hama, this was quickly seized by the American embassy in Damascus, calling on the Syrian government to protect its citizens, in a naive attempt and unprofessional rhetoric, to test its ability to incite the incubating environment (of the Syrian state), as Caesar (Act) promised in the folds of its goals, without an American understanding of the peculiarity of this environment, which has stood its positions throughout the war, despite all the living and security pressures on its lives.

Moscow, and with it Damascus, after five years of the Russian presence in Syria, are aware that the consequences of Russia leaving its political and military position in Syria will be very dangerous for the region, as the Russian presence aims to ensure security and make the world order more just and balanced, as President Al-Assad said. Ankara’s transfer of the militants from the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda groups to the Azerbaijan front, and before it to Libya, is only the first sign of the expansion of the Turkish project in the region after its failure in Syria, and it is the basis of Moscow’s involvement in the Syrian war, and will not allow its transfer to its own walls.

Intercontinental Wars – Part 2: The Counterattack

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

https://www.syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-3-the-open-confrontation/embed/#?secret=F3H13Q3E96

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ديمة ناصيف 

المصدر: الميادين نت

13 تشرين اول 14:02

تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بعد 5 سنوات على الوجود الروسي في سوريا، بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري في سوريا فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة.

تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة
تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة

قد تكون زيارة وزير شؤون الرئاسة السورية إلى موسكو على رأس وفد اقتصادي، قبل أيام، قد مرَّت بعيداً من التداول الإعلامي، رغم ارتباطها الوثيق باستكمال المحادثات أو الاتفاقيات الروسية السورية، التي تمّ التوصل إليها خلال زيارة نائب رئيس الحكومة الروسية بوريسوف الأخيرة والوفد الروسي، وبات من الممكن البناء عليها لإطلاق ورقة شراكة روسية سورية لمواجهة العقوبات، بما فيها قانون “قيصر” الأميركي.

ازدحام القراءات والتأويلات لزيارة الوفد الروسي وحضور سيرغي لافروف بعد 8 سنوات إلى دمشق، يمكن تفسيره بأنه مجرد مساومة اقتصادية روسية مؤقتة – لعبور الحاجز النفسي الذي خلّفه الضغط الأميركي على موسكو، ومنع إعادة العملية السياسية إلى جنيف، وممارسة ضغط داخلي روسي من قبل تيار يعارض سياسة بوتين في سوريا – بوجوب التوصل إلى تفاهمات نهائية حول اللجنة الدستورية قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية السورية في حزيران/يونيو 2021.

هذه الزيارة، كما تؤكد النتائج، ليست أبعد من دعم كامل للدولة السورية سياسياً واقتصادياً، فهي لا تندرج تحت عنوان مبادرات روسية تقايض أو تساوم مواقف دمشق حول العملية السياسية أو تحرير إدلب أو حتى الشرق السوري. كان حضور لافروف في دمشق على خلفية قانون “قيصر”، وليس أستانة أو أي عنوان آخر.

ومن مآخذ البعض في موسكو على دمشق، مواقفها المتصلّبة في وجه الطروحات الروسية، ما يستدعي إبداء مرونة في التفاوض من جانب الطرف السوري، والتخفف من بعض الشكليات التي قد تُفسَّر على نحو أن القيادة السورية لا ترغب في التعاون أو إنجاز أي تقدم على صعيد العملية السياسية قبل الانتخابات، وترديد عبارة أن لا اتفاق من دون الاتفاق على كل شيء.

في المقابل، ترى دمشق أن العملية السياسية يجب أن تكون مبنية على استراتيجية مرحلية طويلة الأمد، لتجنب أفخاخ قد تضعها تركيا من خلال مجموعاتها داخل وفد المعارضة، كما تحدث الرئيس الأسد في لقاءاته الأخيرة إلى وسائل إعلام روسية.

ولم تسمح أرتال السيارات المزدحمة أمام محطات الوقود في المدن السورية منذ شهرين بتلمّس الدعم الروسي للتخفيف من تبعات “قيصر” ووطأته، ثم جاءت الخسائر الهائلة في حرائق الأحراج والأراضي الزراعية في أرياف اللاذقية وحمص وطرطوس وحماة، الأمر الذي تلقفته السفارة الأميركية في دمشق سريعاً، لتدعو الحكومة السورية إلى حماية مواطنيها، في محاولة ساذجة وخطاب غير محترف، لاختبار قدرتها على تأليب البيئة الحاضنة، كما وعد “قيصر” في طيات أهدافه، من دون فهم أميركيّ لخصوصية هذه البيئة التي ثبتت على مواقفها طيلة الحرب، رغم كل الضغوطات المعيشية والأمنية على حياتها. 

تدرك موسكو، ومعها دمشق، بعد 5 سنوات على الوجود الروسي في سوريا، أن تبعات مغادرة روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري في سوريا ستكون خطيرة جداً على المنطقة، فالتواجد الروسي يهدف إلى ضمان الأمن، وجعل النظام العالمي أكثر عدلاً وتوازناً، كما قال الرئيس الأسد. إنّ نقل أنقرة للمسلحين من المجموعات الإخوانية والقاعدية إلى جبهة أذربيجان، وقبلها ليبيا، ليس إلا أولى ملامح توسع المشروع التركي في الإقليم بعد فشله في سوريا، وهو أساس انخراط موسكو في الحرب السورية، ولن تسمح بانتقاله إلى أسوارها.

Why Conflict in Caucasus Is Erdogan’s Revenge for Syria

Why Conflict in Caucasus Is Erdogan's Revenge for Syria - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

October 17, 2020

Turkey’s outsize role in fueling the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is becoming more apparent. That’s why a peace deal will be hard to cut and indeed the conflict may blow up further into a protracted regional war. A war that could drag Russia into battling in the Caucasus on its southern periphery against NATO proxies.

In a phone call this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly backed Moscow’s efforts at mediating a ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Notwithstanding, Erdogan appeared to deliver an ultimatum to his Russian counterpart. He said that there must be a “permanent solution” to the decades-long territorial dispute.

Erdogan and his Azerbaijan ally have already made it clear that the only solution acceptable to them is for Armenian separatists to relinquish their claim to Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan – bound by common Turkic culture – have long-called the Armenian-held enclave an illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territory since a border war ended in 1994.

When hostilities flared again last month on September 27 initial reports suggested the clashes were of a haphazard nature with both sides trading blame for starting the violence. However, it has since become clear that the actions taken on the Azeri side seem to have been a planned aggression with Turkey’s full support.

Following a previous deadly clash on July 12-13 involving about a dozen casualties among Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, there then proceeded massive military exercises in Azerbaijan involving 11,000 Turkish troops beginning on July 29. For nearly two weeks into August, the maneuvers deployed artillery, warplanes and air-defense units in what was evidently a major drive by Ankara and Baku to coordinate the armies from both countries to fulfill joint operations. Furthermore, reports indicated that Turkish forces, including F-16 fighter jets, remained in Azerbaijan following the unprecedented military drills.

Alongside the drills, there was also a dramatic increase in military arms sales from Turkey to Azerbaijan. According to Turkish export figures, there was a six-fold increase in weapons deals compared with the previous year, with most of the supply being delivered in the third quarter of 2020 between July and September. The armaments included drones and rocket launchers which have featured with such devastating impact since hostilities erupted on September 27.

A third factor suggesting planned aggression was the reported transport of mercenary fighters from Syria and Libya by Turkey to fight on the Azerbaijani side. Thousands of such militants belonging to jihadist brigades under the control of Turkey had arrived in the Azeri capital Baku before hostilities broke out on September 27. The logistics involved in organizing such a large-scale deployment can only mean long-term planning.

Armenian sources also claim that Azeri authorities had begun impounding civilian vehicles weeks before the shooting war opened. They also claim that when the fire-fights erupted on September 27, Turkish media were present on the ground to give live coverage of events.

It seems indisputable therefore that Turkey and Azerbaijan had made a strategic decision to implement a “final solution” to the protracted dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

That’s what makes Russian efforts at mediating a cessation to hostilities all the more fraught. After marathon talks mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a ceasefire was introduced on October 10. However, within hours the truce unravelled with reports of resumed exchange of fire and shelling of cities on both sides. The main violations have been committed by the Azerbaijani side using advanced Turkish weaponry. Armenian leaders have complained that the Azeri side does not seem interested in pursuing peace talks.

More perplexing is the widening of the conflict. Azerbaijan air strikes since the weekend ceasefire broke down have hit sites within Armenia, extending the conflict beyond the contested enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has also claimed that Armenian missiles have hit cities within its territory. Armenia flatly denies carrying out such strikes, which begs the question: is a third party covertly staging provocations and fomenting escalation of conflict?

What is challenging for Russia is that it has a legal obligation to defend Armenia as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (1992). With Armenia coming under fire, the pressure will be on Moscow to intervene militarily.

This would see Russia being embroiled in another proxy war with NATO-member Turkey. But this is not in Syria. It is the Caucasus region on Russia’s southern border. There are concerns among senior Russian military figures that such a scenario is exactly what Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is aiming for. Turkey was outplayed by Russia in the proxy war in Syria. Erdogan and NATO’s plans for regime change in Damascus were dealt a bloody nose by Russia. It seems though that conflict in the Caucasus may now be Erdogan’s revenge.

Moscow may need to seriously revise its relations with Ankara, and let Erdogan know he is treading on red lines.

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