International affairs expert
In recent days, the Republic of Azerbaijan has significantly intensified its political and military pressures. In the political arena, the Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly threatened Armenia, stating, “If Armenia continues its uncooperative approach to the Zangezur Corridor project, Baku will pursue its Plan B to open this corridor. Azerbaijan will continue its activities in this route through Plan B, and even if Armenia does not participate, it will still be implemented. However, in that case, Armenia would simply be excluded from the list of beneficiaries.”
In the military domain, there is ample evidence that the Republic of Azerbaijan is intensifying its military readiness in the region. In recent days, numerous videos have surfaced depicting the movement of military units, equipment, and weaponry of the Azerbaijani army and the mobilization of their forces, showcasing their combat readiness.
Most reports indicate intense activity by the Baku Air Force in relocating equipment and ground forces along the Armenian border. Furthermore, the observation of cargo planes departing from occupied areas suggests the movement of weapons to various points within the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In the span of three weeks, four transport flights, operated by Silk Road Airlines, using the Ilyushin IL-76TD aircraft with registration 4K-AZ40, have been conducted from the Republic of Azerbaijan to Israel. During the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, Silk Road Airlines also served as the primary aerial logistics route for Baku to procure weapons from Israel.
Two flights took place on the 15th and 29th of August, and two more flights on the 1st and 2nd of September (just a few days ago and coinciding with the start of the Azerbaijani army’s movements). The destination for all four flights was the Ayouda Airbase in Israel, located approximately 60 kilometers from the city of Eilat.
Amidst the tensions in the Azerbaijani region, the visit of Turkey’s new Foreign Minister to Iran and his meetings with Iranian officials contained significant points that should not be overlooked. While Iran’s stance and red lines regarding regional developments have previously been transparently articulated by the esteemed leadership and the honorable President, it’s essential to acknowledge that the issues raised by Foreign Minister Fidan are part of a broader discussion. Erdogan had explicitly stated at the beginning of the current summer during his meeting with Aliyev that “the opening of the Zangezur Corridor is an issue with Iran, not Armenia, and Iran’s approach in this regard is a source of discomfort for both Azerbaijan and Turkey.”
It seems that Aliyev has fallen into a cognitive error regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s role in the developments in the northern Aras region. Turkey, NATO, and the Zionist regime, which have placed him in this position, are pursuing a repetitive scenario: transforming Azerbaijan into a speed bump and a dirty wound for Iran, similar to Ukraine’s role for Russia. However, what these actors have overlooked is Iran’s regional influence and its spiritual penetration among the people of Azerbaijan. Although, in recent years, the authorities in Baku have attempted to downplay this influence through coercion and force, it remains an undeniable reality. If Baku continues on its erroneous path, it may lead to significant social and political transformations in the country in the near future.