Question:   In one of your interviews you said that sabotage groups against Azerbaijan are being formed in neighboring countries. Specifically, you named Russia and noted that these groups are also undergoing special training in Iran. How reliable is this information?

Arastun OrujluAnswer: Yes, not in one, but in several of my interviews I said that sabotage groups against Azerbaijan are being formed in neighboring countries. And this statement is not based on some fake. I have reliable information on this. I even have information - who is involved in these cases and which of the former Azerbaijani high-ranking military men were recruited, under the guise of diaspora activities of Russian Azerbaijanis, underwent certain trainings. There is quite reliable information, confirmed by many facts, about which of the Azerbaijanis living in Russia, having moved to Iran, settling in Tehran, Tabriz, Qum, sent Azerbaijani youth living in Russia, allegedly for the purpose of education, to Iran and attracted them to special trainings. I know the names of people who are engaged in this activity and involve Azerbaijanis in this activity. There is not and cannot be any talk of good intentions and goals.

Question: What is the purpose of these sabotage groups? What operations can they carry out in Azerbaijan?

Answer: The purpose of sabotage groups at all times was to destabilize the country. Their task is to direct socio-political processes in a direction that corresponds to the goals and desires of the states or bodies they serve. Their task is to create confrontation in society, subversion.  Just like it once happened in Kazakhstan. This scenario was used in Kazakhstan in January of this year. Against the background of social demands, rebel groups suddenly appeared, and these groups did not appear by chance. Ultimately, they created such a situation that the government of Kazakhstan was forced to turn to Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and ask them to send troops to maintain stability and power in the country. The intentions and plans behind this can only be guessed at. I don't want to make assumptions. However, such a prompt reaction of Russia and the CSTO showed that in fact they were preparing for this situation in advance. That is, it was originally expected. They can do the same in Azerbaijan. That is, the Kazakh scenario is not excluded in Azerbaijan.

Question: Do you think the Azerbaijani authorities know about this? Are any precautions taken? And what do these precautions include?

Answer: I think the Azerbaijani authorities are aware of this. At least, the behavior of the Azerbaijani authorities shows that they have such information. Whish effective  and  adequate steps and  preventive measures are taken is another topic. For example, it is not serious to explain the closure of borders by the threat of the spread of COVID. In fact, the goal is to prevent such sabotage groups from entering the country. But this is ineffective, because the closure of land borders leads to an increase in tension within the country. And the states that manage and direct these saboteurs can take advantage of this increased tension at the expense of domestic resources. They have these possibilities, they are quite wide and they can resort to any action. Their sphere of influence, if we use the expression “5th column”, which has recently become very popular in Azerbaijan, consists not only of sabotage groups. We can say that it covers almost all niches of the socio-political life of the country, is available in all institutions and structures. And their activities are coordinated in a certain way. Are the Azerbaijani authorities taking any steps to prevent this? I can't say it. I don't know about it. However, the recent move to close land borders is counterproductive.

Question: Military euphoria reigns in society lately. Before the 44-day war, there were such conversations, but nothing was officially said. We are witnessing the call-up of many reservists under the pretext of conducting exercises. This information is also being shared on social media. Is it possible that talk of war and exercises is being conducted for this purpose?

Answer: The threat of war is obvious. In particular, after the meeting in Tehran, it became clear that Iran and Russia, on the one hand, and Turkey, on the other hand, cannot reach any agreement. Because the goal of Iran and Russia is to oust Turkey from at least two geographic regions. One of them is Syria, and the other is Azerbaijan. This didn't work either. In fact, this means the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts. We saw that after the meeting in Tehran or on the eve of it, the head of Russian foreign intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, visited Armenia and Azerbaijan. His visit to Azerbaijan was, to put it mildly, very strange. Although he held a press conference, media close to the government barely covered the visit. There were messages about him only on some sites and information resources related to Russia. In politics, diplomats work first, then politicians, then intelligence officers, and then the army comes and joins the process. In my opinion, the first three resources have already been exhausted. What happened in the mountainous part of Karabakh, the activation of the Armenian armed forces in the zone of control of the so-called Russian peacekeepers, their attempts to build new fortifications, strengthen positions (at the same time, the Armenian Ministry of Defense openly declares that the Armenian Armed Forces are still there) and the fact that, contrary to the tripartite November 10 statement by Russia did not ensure their withdrawal from these territories and did not react to this, shows that the same factor can be used against Azerbaijan. In a word, the situation is moving in the direction of military confrontation. There is such a threat, but this does not mean that there will necessarily be a war. Azerbaijan is not alone. Turkey and Azerbaijan have signed an agreement on cooperation in the military and security fields. The Shusha Declaration is a very comprehensive document. It has been ratified and has legal force. In any case, it is important not to lose vigilance. You need to be ready for any situation. Russia is building military bases in Armenia near the borders of Azerbaijan. In particular, activation is observed in Kalbajar, such a sensitive point as Tovuz, which is the shortest distance to communications passing through the territory of Azerbaijan. Kalbajar, Terter direction again became a target. Under these conditions, of course, one must be prepared for war. This training should be carried out not only at the level of the army, but also at the level of the economy, social and political life of the country.

Question: Opinions about the successful foreign policy of Azerbaijan was  expressed recently. Examples include the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the European Commission in the field of energy, the visit of European officials to Baku, their statements, the visit to Baku of the head of Russian foreign intelligence Naryshkin and other issues. If  we review the Azerbaijani media, we will not find articles directed against any country, except perhaps Iran. If so, why is Azerbaijan a target?

Answer: These successes are relative, there are no results yet. For example, peace negotiations with Armenia are being conducted through the mediation of the European Union. Russia is not satisfied with the conduct of negotiations and the achievement of a peace agreement in this format. It is for this reason that it would be wrong to consider the visit of Naryshkin and other Russian officials to Azerbaijan as a positive event. Russia is trying to keep this conflict and conflicts in the post-Soviet space as a whole under its control. These conflicts give him the opportunity to control the geopolitical situation. In addition, the energy agreement reached between Azerbaijan and the European Union creates additional risks. The European Union is trying to abandon Russian energy carriers against the backdrop of sanctions imposed against Russia. The choice of Azerbaijan as one of the alternatives in this matter contributes to turning it into a target for Russia. Successful diplomacy does not always lead to successful results. Successful diplomacy sometimes generates a response from the opposite side.

Question: And in conclusion, what processes can take place in Azerbaijan in the near future?

Answer: Any events are possible in Azerbaijan. Both violation of internal stability and subversive actions for this purpose are possible (for example, starting from the attempted murder of individual politicians, journalists, well-known public and political figures, to processes that began with social demands and then turned into riots). Possible activation on the Karabakh front. Any conflict on the Azerbaijani-Russian border is possible. That is, the spectrum here is quite wide. It is very difficult to say exactly what will happen. I have listed several possible scenarios. However, many, different, more varied events can occur. And not only with Russia, but also with Iran. This can also happen on the initiative, inciting, instigating this very provocative 5th column that exists in Azerbaijan. In this sense, the situation is rather complicated. This was to be expected. Lavrov's last call to Jeyhun Bayramov was about launching the North-South corridor. The issue of corridors is the most important issue of modern geopolitics. The North-South corridor is vital for Russia to secure control over the East-West (China-Europe) corridor. This will allow her to be a global player. Russia will never give up this claim. it will do everything in its power to achieve this. In this sense, the risks for Azerbaijan will increase. The only way to avoid this is to first stabilize the socio-political situation inside the country. But this can be done not by arrests and repressions, but by achieving civil understanding. So far, there are no such initiatives on the part of the authorities. It is not visible from the opposition either. Because the government has its own approach and even has its own opposition. This is irrational. The initiative here should be taken by the government, but, as I said, it does not look like this will happen. Unfortunately, this increases the risks.


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