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June 29, 2017  09:38

Militants, who fought among IS groups, can take certain actions in Azerbaijan

The Russian press is discussing the topic of radical Islam in Azerbaijan.

STEPANAKERT, JUNE 29, ARTSAKHPRESS: The question is presented in that connection that according to statistical data, Azerbaijan is the third among the CIS countries by the number of citizens among Islamic State militants.

And now, when in Syria and Iraq the circles against the militants of that organization are being squeezed, it is likely that a considerable part of the militants, who have left Azerbaijan and joined the IS are returning to their homeland in different ways. Head of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center Andrey Novikov stated the afore-said at the session of the UN Security Council. He said that militants from Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, who had gone to Syria and Iraq, "receiving a military experience begin massively return to the CIS states."

On this occasion, Turkish "Milliyet" wrote that the IS militants returning to Azerbaijan, "may take certain actions as it happened in Iran." The Turkish newspaper apparently refers to the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran, which killed about one and a half people.

Analysts have noted that in Azerbaijan, the violence against the political opposition  leave people with no other choise, than to link the hope of changes to this or that direction of Islamic Ideology. According to circulating views, now Azerbaijan is under the pressure of two currents of the Islamic movement coming from Iran and Dagestan. Preachers of Shia Islam from Iran penetrate to Azerbaijan and Wahhabists-from Dagestan, who are closely linked with the Arab world.

There is a possibility that there can be a contradiction between the followers of these two directions. Former chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Azerbaijan Rafik Aliyev is afraid that society's divergence in Sunni and Shia directions is fraught with the danger of disrupting political stability. Arif Yunusov, who received political asylum in the Netherlands, believes that the situation in the Middle East dictates to make a choice.

According to him, Azerbaijan has three opportunities: to choose Russian orientation, go towards the West or to transform into a part of the Islamic world. Yunusov believes that the Russian direction is not accepted by the majority of the society, there is no trust towards the West. So remains the third way, but here another question of chose rises, because the Islamic world, in its turn, is divided into Sunni and Shia groups.

On the one hand are Sunni Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on the other - Shia Iran and its allied states and movements. Though Turkey has a great political influence on Azerbaijan, but in the civilization sense it is in the zone of the Iranian influence. Leaving aside Azerbaijan's geopolitical and ethnic-religious choice, in the current situation it is important to pay attention to that possibility that militants massively returning from Syria and Iraq, who fought among IS groups for years and gained some combat skills can be involved in the line of Contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijan under the name of contracted servicemen.

Azerbaijan has such an experience. In the 1990-91s, Azerbaijan on the territory of the Soviet Union recruited hundreds of officers who had served in Afghanistan, pardoned thousands of convicts, and from that contingent formed special detachments of Ministry of Internal Affairs. These gangs, commonly known as the "Omon" units, with the support of the internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Soviet Army, carried out a series of military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, the Shahumyan region and Getashen.
At this stage, the formation of Special Forces from those who were among IS groups and returned to Azerbaijan seems unlikely for political reasons but should not be excluded.
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Vahram Atanesyan


Artsakhpress.am



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