New Azeri Military Doctrine Sees Karabakh Independence as Primary Threat


BAKU (Combined Sources)–Azerbaijan’s parliament on June 8 approved by a vote of 110 in favor, with two against and one abstention, a draft military doctrine that is intended to complement the National Security Doctrine ratified by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in May 2007.

The draft doctrine was first submitted to parliament three years ago, but ratification was repeatedly delayed, and it was apparently amended in the wake of the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008.

The doctrine lists the perceived main threats facing the Azerbaijan Republic; the military and strategic basis of national security; the main objectives of the armed forces both in war and in peacetime; and the prospects for further strengthening the country’s military potential, presidential administration official Fuad Alesqerov told news.az on June 4.

The first of those threats, according to Alesqerov, is the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. In that context, the doctrine affirms that “any political, military, economic, or other support provided to the Republic of Armenia and to the separatist regime created with Armenia’s support on Azerbaijani territory with the aim of [securing] official recognition of the results of occupation will be interpreted as an act directed against the Azerbaijan Republic.”

Other threats enumerated by Alesqerov include possible foreign military interference in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs; claims by neighboring states on Azerbaijani territory; actions aimed at destabilizing the domestic political and economic situation, including support for separatist and extremist religious movements; and the infiltration of illegal armed groups and terrorists into Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijan jamaat” was among the militant groups listed as having sent a representative to a meeting on May 30 of subdivisions in Azerbaijan of the North Caucasus insurgency.

Alesqerov also mentions “violation of the regional military balance,” or the deployment of troops close to Azerbaijan’s state borders or territorial waters; participation of neighboring states in interstate conflicts (i.e. a replay of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war); and “the existence of domestic conflicts or armed riots,” implying that the state reserves the right to use military force against its own citizens. Azerbaijani officials never miss an opportunity to condemn Armenia for having done precisely that in the wake of the disputed February 2008 presidential election.

An article published in the September 26-October 2, 2007, edition of “Voyenno-Promyshlenny Kurer” enumerates further threats that figured in the initial draft doctrine, including attacks on sites of military or economic importance (presumably meaning in the first instance oil and gas export pipelines and pumping stations); organized crime, terrorism, and smuggling; and information warfare.

The doctrine affirms that Azerbaijan has no intention of beginning military operations against any other state unless it becomes “the victim of aggression.” It also rules out war as a means of pressure on the independence of other states, or as a means to resolve international conflicts.

The doctrine does not provide for the deployment on Azerbaijani soil of foreign military bases, except in circumstances envisaged by international treaties that Azerbaijan has ratified. Nor does it list as a strategic goal integration with Euro-Atlantic structures. That omission is hardly surprising in light of Azerbaijan’s clear lack of interest, despite statements to the contrary, in joining NATO.

By contrast, the initial draft doctrine summarized by “Voyenno-Promyshlenny kurer” singled out as of specific significance military cooperation with Turkey, with NATO, and with fellow GUAM member states (Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova).

Zahid Orudj, who is a parliament deputy and deputy chairman of the pro-regime Ana Veten party, pointed out to Caucasus Knot that the final version of the doctrine does not name Turkey (or any other state) as an ally. That failure can possibly be attributed to Baku’s profound anger at Turkey’s initial moves last year towards rapprochement with Armenia.

As for GUAM, Georgia is presumably no longer considered a reliable strategic partner in the wake of the miscalculation that precipitated the August 2008 war. Since Viktor Yanukovych’s election in January as president of Ukraine, Kyiv has abandoned its pro-Western foreign policy, and Moldova has opted for neutrality.

The final doctrine does, however, still affirm Azerbaijan’s continued willingness to cooperate with NATO.

A working group was tasked with drafting the military doctrine in 2004, shortly after Ilham Aliyev’s election as president. Why it has taken so long for the parliament, in which the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party holds the overwhelming majority of the 120 mandates, to vote on it is not clear. Parliament First Deputy Speaker Ziyafet Askerov was quoted by day.az on December 23, 2006, as saying the doctrine would be approved during the spring 2007 parliament session. It was not.

When he signed the National Security Concept in May 2007, President Aliyev gave the government three months in which to complete the Military Doctrine and present it to parliament, according to echo-az.com on February 15, 2008.

The draft doctrine was submitted to NATO for feedback, and on October 17, 2007, Askerov told the same news agency it “is already ready” and would be voted on during the fall parliament session. But the vote did not take place.

On February 5, 2008, Askerov told day.az that the parliament had received the draft doctrine and would vote on it during the spring session. But in early July, he told fellow parliamentarians that it had not been endorsed due to the changing geo-political situation, according to echo-az.com on July 15, 2008. He added that the doctrine would, nonetheless, be adopted during the fall parliament session.

In February 2009, Lieutenant-General Vahid Aliyev, who is Aliyev’s military advisor, told Azerbaijan Press Agency that the doctrine “might” be submitted to parliament for debate during the spring session. That statement suggests that the initial draft may have been withdrawn and revised following the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. Four months later, on June 18, 2009, the online daily zerkalo.az quoted a NATO liaison officer as saying that the military doctrine “is almost ready” and could be submitted to parliament for discussion during the fall session.

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16 Comments

  1. eddy said:

    Azerbaijan is declaring de fecto war on NKR. … NKR should be ready for preventive war and refuse any harmful solution/compronis … RoA and NKR should use this – very sad – but unique opportunity and reconsider there positions…. Given these facts Armenia should refuse any negation on behalf of NKR . RoA should freeze the current status and refuse so called “Madrid principles”

  2. Armanen said:

    Eddy:

    Artsakh/Armenia and azerbaijan never signed a peace treaty so the two are at still at war. Regardless, aliyev knows what will happen to him and his clan should they ignite a new war in the region. He is not as smart as his father, but he is not a complete idiot either.

  3. Nairian said:

    Luckily Russia and U.S. also will not let them go into war with us. War is hell as they know what happened with Georgia in 2008. They are getting ready but I don’t think they’ll be allowed.

  4. Grish Begian said:

    Azerbaijan is weak tribal place and without Turkish “mental” support they will never exist as a country..
    this is a place, where Shia and Sunny and Vahabi Muslims will go at each others in the near future for a power struggle.. right now each of these group are connected with outside world, we Armenians don’t have to get involved with their love affairs.. New Azeri doctrine is good for their phony leader, who dump his internal problems over Artsakh and Armenians..

  5. Hr-ayr said:

    I LOVE ALL THE ARMENIANS THAT TRUELY CARE FOR OUR MOTHERLAND…
    JUST LIKE OUR FOREFATHERS; HAVE NO FEAR AND DEFEND WHAT YOU LOVE…

    Evil is TEMPORARY… but don’t tell that to the savage Turk, they might panic and actually attempt to be civilized haha

    LONG LIVE ARMENIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LONG LIVE THE DEFENDERS OF VIRTUE

    -Man of Fire

  6. eddy said:

    The problem is Azerbaijani ill and dirty (Nazi like) propaganda against Armenians has made not only the Azerbaijani society to become ill but the ruling elite has created for themselves an image of victims … crying like a little child .. “Give me that and this, I wana this and that…”

    The best would be to rename -what ever from Agdam is left – to Tikranakert”

  7. Abbe said:

    They know that the only loosers from this coming conflict is going to no one but themselves.
    Both political, in the war and everything else !
    “If the head is stupid then the body will suffer” they say….

  8. Serge said:

    There is no way that Azerbaijan will start the war again, the main reason is oil and gas. Azarbaijan has a lot to loose by starting a war and there is no gauranty that they will win, that’s why there are not taking any chances, otherwise they would have started long time ago. They know by starting a new war the transfer of oil and gas to outside world will be cut off and that is something that niether US, Europe or Turkey want. They will keep on claiming Artsakh belongs to them and will costantly remind us that it was under thier administration before, however they will never do something about it or start a new war, they know very well it is a lost cause.

  9. Zareh said:

    They got KLO now, Karabach liberation organisation, reminds me PLO, Palestine liberation organisation, just as dire prospectives.

  10. Christo said:

    LET’S GO TO WAR ALREADY!
    WE NEED TO AVENGE OUR FALLEN BROTHER LIEUTENANT GURGEN MARGARYAN. YO, ILHAM YOU THOUGHT WE FORGOT?
    NEVER FORGET,NEVER FORGIVE THAT’S THE ARMENIAN MOTTO

  11. john papazian said:

    Nener forgive? Sounds like a Muslum sentiment more so than Christian.Vengance as motivation rarly work out,if at all.

  12. Armogirl said:

    loooooool Ive been to Artsakh many times, what Ive seen there is not comparing to azeris army, OUR ARMY is million times greater than this fuckins. VIVA THE GREAT ARMENIA

  13. john papazian said:

    Armogirl does your mother know you talk like that? Seriosly,under estimating your oppenent is the surest way to get your ass kicked.

  14. Norin Radd said:

    If one Armenian in Arstakh in harmed, or one inch of Arstakh (formerly known as Nagorno Karabagh) is stepped on by Azeris pigs, their pipeline, oil fields, and great Nabucco ambitions will be burning in flames courtesy of the Armenians in Armenia, Arstakh, and the Diaspora. There won’t be one drop of oil left to sell, they will have to go back to prostituting their women for GDP in Turkish brothels.

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