Azeri analysts warn of terrorist threat from Iran

Yeni Musavat, Baku
5 May 06

Text of Cavid Turan's report by Azerbaijani newspaper Yeni Musavat on
5 May headlined "Iran might carry out terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan"
and subheaded "Experts say the authorities should take urgent measures"

Iran has no intention of backing down on its uranium enrichment
programme and is continuing to issue ultimatums to countries opposing
its nuclear ambitions. As has been reported, the mullah regime has
said it will carry out heavy strikes against countries in the sphere
of US and Israeli interests.

Iranian officials have openly said that they will attack Azerbaijan's
oil fields, the Baku-[Tbilisi]-Ceyhan [oil pipeline] and some other
strategic facilities. We reported in our earlier issues that Iran's
defence minister even gave a list of targets to [Azerbaijani President]
Ilham Aliyev during his visit to Baku.

Given that even the USA, a world superpower, is vulnerable to the
terrorist threat, there is no point in saying that Azerbaijan is
capable of preventing this threat.

Military analyst Azad Isazada says that every threat from Iran should
be taken seriously. Isazada does not rule out that such groups also
exist among the large number of Iranian citizens doing business in
Azerbaijan [as published]. He said that subversive acts are realistic.

The threat of subversive acts is extremely serious, Isazada said,
adding that Azerbaijan is not prepared for these acts. At this stage,
Armenians will also support Iran in order to bring Azerbaijan to its
knees. At the same time, Russian intelligence might carry out terrorist
acts as well in order to knock Azerbaijan out of the West's orbit,
Isazada says.

Independent expert Zafar Quliyev believes that the terrorist threat
is realistic.

"I do not think that these acts might target Azerbaijani
citizens. On the contrary, Iran is trying to win the hearts and
minds of Azerbaijanis. Terrorist acts might target oil facilities,
government buildings and foreign embassies," he said.

The analyst believes that Azerbaijan is not prepared enough to prevent
these acts.

"As the military option [between the USA and Iran] is becoming more
and more realistic, security measures should be stepped up. Both
Azerbaijan's territory and the buildings of international organizations
should be protected.

"On the other hand, the US-led anti-Iran coalition should shoulder
this responsibility if Azerbaijan joins this coalition," Quliyev says.

Lawyer Osman Kazimov also believes that Azerbaijan is going to face
a terrorist threat.

"Given that Iran is behind most of the terrorist acts carried out in
the world, terrorist acts on Azerbaijan's territory are realistic if
a war breaks out," he said.

Kazimov thinks that Azerbaijan is not capable enough of preventing
the terrorist threat.

"Because Iranian intelligence is very capable and experienced in
terrorist attacks. But Azerbaijan's main special services, which
can prevent terrorist acts, have so far focused on the political
rivals of the authorities. We know from our experience that terrorist
organizations 'exposed' at various times had contacts with special
services. I mean these services bury their own 'problems' themselves.

"Therefore, our special services should give up their traditional
work style and focus on this in order to prevent the experienced
and professional Iranian intelligence service from carrying out
terrorist acts.

"We should work hard with people. Complex measures should be taken,
especially in regions bordering on Iran, and counterintelligence
work should be stepped up. Security should be tightened at strategic
facilities, oil pipelines, government buildings and public catering
facilities.

"Apart from that, we need to use the support of countries which are
really friendly with us. We should not hesitate to use the support
of the US special services," Kazimov said.