by David Stepanyan

Thursday, January 26, 15:53

Interview of military psychologist Azad Isazade (Baku) with ArmInfo
news agency

When analyzing the course of the Karabakh settlement, one has got an
impression that everything is developing according to the scenario
of the Palestine-Israeli conflict. What true instruments for the
Karabakh conflict settlement we have today, except the war? Do they
have chances to be used successfully?

Everything in the Karabakh conflict's resolution follows the scenario
of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict so far. There is neither military
nor political resolution of the conflict. The resolution is in the
military-political field, which, however, does not mean resumption
of military actions. There are forms of military actions that do
not imply armed conflicts. Various maneuvers, exercises, parades are
demonstration of force and one of the forms of the intensive military
activity in the military-diplomatic field. For instance, Azerbaijan
has raised the issue of restoration of the Iranian-Azerbaijani border,
which is partly not under its control. He said it is an example
of such diplomacy. It does not require attacking the civilians
residing in Stepanakert. It will be enough launching negotiations as
an alternative to the armed conflict.

Hence, it is necessary to rule out resumption of the military conflict,
first of all, and there are already certain premises for that. I am
sure that in spite of its desire to unleash military actions Azerbaijan
cannot do that at least before May 2012 when Eurovision Song Contest
will be held in Baku.

We are not China where the Olympic Games were not boycotted despite
the developments in Tibet. In case of poor judgment, Eurovision will
remain a dream for Baku. It is not a joke, but reality. Such arguments
can be found both in Russia and the West.

May the changing of the balance between the parties to the Nagornyy
Karabakh conflict result in the new war?

Actually, today Azerbaijan has certain economic and military-technical
superiority over Armenia. Nevertheless, we are well aware that
without possible interference by third countries and other factors,
the Azerbaijani Armed Forces should prevail the defending Armenians
at least five-fold.

In conditions of such mountainous area as Karabakh, the offensive side
needs 7-8-fold superiority, whereas Azerbaijan has just certain weapon
superiority over Armenia at present. Armenia prevails over Azerbaijan
with some other types of weapons. However, Azerbaijan will not have
decisive superiority over Armenia within the coming decades.

In this light, Azerbaijan has only one way - a blitzkrieg, which
will not make it possible for Azerbaijan to settle the issue
finally. For instance, Azerbaijan can invade Aghdam, or Armenia can
block Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. But such kind of operation
will not lead the parties to final resolution of the conflict. It
will just lead the conflict to the more intensive phase.

How can you explain the main reasons of servicemen death in the
Armenian and Azerbaijani armies?

Deaths from the enemy shells on the line of contact are a small
percentage of the deaths in the Azerbaijani army. There are also
other non-combat related deaths: diseases, humiliating treatment of
juniors, suicides.

Both the Armenian and Azerbaijani armies are 'fragments' of the Soviet
army with all its benefits and implications. Despite all the talks
on reforms, the officer corps in both the armies is the same.

Tactical instructions and regulations are still the same. Military
hazing is the result of unsatisfactory work of the officer corps
with the manpower. An officer must not transfer his direct duty
to the senior conscripts. This is what leads to non-combat related
incidents. But officer do not care for that. Both in Armenia and
Azerbaijan, he said, there are army units where "dedovshina" (military
hazing) is not so critical. Referring to the Armenian officers he
met at various forums. The situation in Armenia is different. The
military hazing in Azerbaijan is critical and sometimes results in
deaths, while in Armenia there is certain second hierarchy of senior
conscripts. There are "supervisors" in the army units and the officer
corps has been quite successfully fighting this phenomena for several
years. It is very important, for in case of an armed conflict, such
double hierarchy may have unpredictable results.

The leadership of Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh reiterated many times
about their readiness to withdraw snipers from the line of contact,
but Baku does not share such readiness. What is the reason of it? And
what is the core of senseless death of young people from both parties?

The withdrawal of Armenian and Azerbaijani snipers from the line of
contact is not the best way out from the created situation. In our
armies snipers are chiefly soldiers of the involuntary service. For
this reason for withdrawal of snipers we shall be forced to change
the whole staff structure of the Armed Forces. I think that a sniper
has no right to shoot without the order. In this case, either defence
ministers of both states do not so much own the situation at the
line of contact, as their order not to fire is ignored, or they give
another secret order to fire. I think that to stop the sniper war not
the withdrawal of snipers is necessary but a strict order of defence
ministers to stop fire. The expert thinks that even if snipers stop
firing, the bigger skirmish among intelligence officers and sabotage
groups will often happen.

Defence ministers and commanders of the general headquarters are
directly linked with each other, and if desired, they could think
over the conditions of the specific ceasefire. Every sniper's bullet
increases the possibility of the relevant asymmetric respond of the
enemy, and raises the possibility of a large-scale war starting.

That is to say, this bullet may become the last drop after which the
situation will be out of control. For this reason, not the snipers
should be removed but the separation line of the confronting forces

The position of the Armenian parties to the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict
is in making compromise based on an accord to yield several regions in
return to recognize independence of Nagornyy Karabakh by the official
Baku. But such an offer is not accepted by those which are guided by
the principle everything or nothing"...

At present the Armenian party offers to discuss the destiny of 5
regions, but Azerbaijan demand all 7. The recognition of independence
of Nagornyy Karabakh is not a compromise of Azerbaijan but just
recognition of the present status-quo. In return, Azerbaijan offers
an option of a wider autonomy, of which they did not even want to
listen to in Stepanakert.

By the way, there is no point about autonomy in the Constitution
of Azerbaijan...

The present status-quo of the NKR is preserved thanks to the interests
of certain force centers, but it will change after changing of
their priorities. If such changes happen in Russia and Turkey, after
which Armenia and Azerbaijan will feel their force, the status-quo
will also change. Actually, we understand that today the status-quo
suits everybody, but it will end sooner or later. Till 1988 Nagornyy
Karabakh was like an autonomy within Azerbaijan, that is to say, it
was also status-quo, which suited nobody than. And that status-quo
broke in 70 years of existence.

One should look for other alternatives. As Armenians do not admit the
talks about autonomy, and the talks about independence of Karabakh
are inadmissible for Azerbaijanis, other options for settlement should
be drawn out, based on the economic development of both states. Today
citizens of Armenia and Azerbaijan simply resolve this problem leaving
for Russia to try to earn a fast buck. Only in case of searching and
fulfilling of joint economic projects without mutual demands about
recognition of territorial integrity and independence, we shall
be able to come to the mutually acceptable option of the Nagornyy
Karabakh conflict settlement in future.