YEREVAN (Panorama)—Chairman of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan Sardar Jalaloglu has stated that Azerbaijan is the homeland of the so-called Islamic State (IS). While Western powers and more recently Russia lead a campaign against the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, Modern.az reports on the proud statement by Jalaloglu.
Jalaloglu reportedly told the website that the IS is actually connected with Azerbaijan. He said that the principles and activities of the IS are not new, and that they appeared in Islam 1,000 years ago as a movement of assassins during Hassan-i Sabbah’s rule.
Jalaloglu notes that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of the IS, appropriated Hassan-i Sabbah’s ideology.
“Azerbaijan is the historical homeland of the IS. As in the first time, now again, the ideology of the IS was born in Azerbaijan. The ideology of the Khurramites movement, led by Babak, and of Koroghlu’s movement is the same as that of the IS today. The aim of those movements is to restore justice with the help of violence. Today, too, the majority of the IS leaders are Azerbaijanis,” Jalaloglu said.
The deputy chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, Fuad Gahramanli, told Modern.az that it is not impossible for the IS to move into Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan has a very favorable ground for radical religious elements to spread. The recent events at the Ministry of National Security show that that main agency, providing the security of the country, was headed by a criminal chain. In such circumstances, there is a possibility that the IS and other radical organizations may penetrate to Azerbaijan,” he said.
Gulaga Aslanli, chief of the central executive apparatus of the Musavat party, also did not exclude the IS’s penetration into Azerbaijan. “I have doubts that Azerbaijan’s borders are totally protected. If the IS managed to penetrate to Turkey and other neighboring countries, it will just as well be able to penetrate into Azerbaijan. In addition, some part of the people who have fought for the IS return to Azerbaijan. Naturally, they must be kept under attention and be thoroughly checked,” Aslanli said.
The relationship between international terrorist groups and Azerbaijan originates in the early 1990s. At the time, the Azerbaijani army, having failed in its campaign against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), retreated with losses. Trying to save the situation, the Azerbaijani leadership, headed by Heydar Aliyev attracted international terrorists and members of radical groups from Afghanistan (groups linked to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar), Turkey (the “Grey Wolves”, etc.), Chechnya (groups linked to Basayev and Raduyev, etc.) and other regions, to fight Armenian forces in Karabakh.
Despite the involvement of thousands of foreign mercenaries and terrorists in the Azerbaijani army during the war, Azerbaijani aggression against Karabakh failed, and Baku was forced to sign an armistice with the NKR and Armenia. However, ties with , international terrorists in Azerbaijan had already been established, and used in the future. Azerbaijanis were recruited and sent to Afghanistan and the North Caucasus, where they participated in fights against international coalition forces and Russian organizations. In recent years, citizens of Azerbaijan have been actively engaged in terrorism and extremist activities in Russia, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.