The Perils of Aliyev’s Triumphalism: A Challenge for Regional and International Security

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has been using bellicose language and flaunting his country’s military that they will shape the agenda in South-Caucasus now onwards after his victory to the second Nagorno-Karabakh war.

The speech was delivered by President Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of the opening of a new commando unit in the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. The speech was also a congratulation to all personnel of the Armed Forces on the upcoming Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated on June 26 every year.

The president praised the role and professionalism of the Special Forces in the Second Karabakh War, which ended with a complete victory of Azerbaijan over Armenia. He also emphasized the importance of further strengthening the Army and the Commando Force in the face of new threats and challenges in the region.

The president mentioned that after the war, new weapons contracts have been signed and new military units have been established. He also said that the social issues of servicemen are being resolved and their living conditions are being improved.

The president expressed his confidence that the Azerbaijani Army will always be ready to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. He also thanked Turkey for its support and cooperation in the field of defense.

Aliyev’s war rhetoric has raised concerns about the regional security and stability in the South Caucasus, a strategic area that borders Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the Caspian Sea. The region has been plagued by unresolved conflicts, ethnic tensions, poverty, and migration for decades.

The war over Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in Azerbaijan regaining control over most of the territory and surrounding areas that were occupied by Armenian forces since a previous war in the early 1990s. The ceasefire agreement also stipulated the deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to monitor the situation and ensure the return of refugees.

However, the agreement did not address the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which remains a source of contention between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the agreement did not involve any other regional or international actors, such as Turkey, which strongly backed Azerbaijan during the war and has expanded its influence and presence in the region.

Some analysts have argued that Azerbaijan’s victory in the war has transformed Aliyev’s political stature and legacy, boosting his popularity and legitimacy at home and abroad. So, to keep a strong grip on power he will use war rhetoric to enjoy the power.

They have also suggested that Azerbaijan has emerged as a potential threat to the regional players, especially Iran and Russia and it would be hard for the region, with its economic and military capabilities and its strategic partnerships with Turkey and Russia.

However, other experts have warned that Aliyev’s war rhetoric threatens regional security and stability in the South Caucasus, as it could provoke new tensions and violence with Armenia or other neighboring countries. They have also pointed out that the region faces many common challenges that require cooperation and dialogue, such as energy security, transport infrastructure, nonproliferation and humanitarian issues.

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