Dark forces of war
Any military conflict always attracts the attention of not only employees of the relevant special services, but also professional militants. This is an objective fact. Simply because there are people in the world for whom war is just a way of making money. And in which country this is happening, what are the goals of the parties, and other things important for others, professional warriors are not interested. The only questions for them are: how much and for what they will pay.
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh was no exception. With all the loud statements by the parties that only citizens of the unrecognized republic of Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan are involved in the conflict, various special services of European countries, Russia and even the United States allow "information leaks" about the militants fighting on one side or the other. I don't even want to recall the "information troops" of the parties to the conflict in this matter. This is a routine job of discrediting the enemy in the eyes of the world community.
Blame the governments of the belligerent countries for the fact that in partisan detachments, self-defense units and other spontaneously emerging centers of resistance to the enemy, units that often do not even obey the army command, there are people who have come to protect, release, take revenge or just help a friend, relative, acquaintance to save family - stupid. During a war, there will always be opportunities to cross the border, arm yourself and begin an active struggle against the enemy.
It is quite another matter when advisers and instructors appear in army units. In fact, this is the transfer of the functions of commanding subunits and units of our own army, the removal of our own officers and generals from commanding the troops. Advisors and instructors are the second level of intervention of another state in a war. Precisely intervention, not the use of volunteers or mercenaries.
But there is also a third level, which few people talk about. The most dangerous level that threatens not only the enemy, but also the "employers". This is the use of not single mercenaries or a few advisers and instructors, but fully formed, subordinate to their own commanders, mercenary units or special forces of another army. Such units often operate without regard to the command of the army of the employing country. Moreover, the commanders of such units often simply demand some absolutely incredible things. And, most importantly, the government has to fulfill these requirements.
Volunteers, mercenaries and just foreigners fight on both sides
Today, according to various sources, from 2 to 3 thousand mercenaries and volunteers from both sides participate in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. I understand that for some readers the figure does not look very impressive. However, if we compare this figure with the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, the attitude will change. The force is serious enough.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper says about the number of about 2000 people:
[quote] “We are, of course, concerned about the internationalization of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the involvement of militants from the Middle East. We have repeatedly called on external players to use their capabilities to suppress the transfer of mercenaries, whose number in the conflict zone, according to available data, is already approaching 2. ”[/ Quote]
German specialists and French intelligence services are talking about a higher figure. The difference in numbers, in my opinion, is caused by the system of registration of militants and mercenaries. The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service talk about proven figures, while the Europeans count all those who, for some reason, are now in Karabakh. But, as it seems to me, it is impossible to talk about exact figures today. Therefore, the very presence of such an army of mercenaries and militants in the unrecognized republic already speaks of the international character of the war. The fact that the war is no longer waged for territory, but for the destruction of the state. Or at least weakening it.
Who is fighting in the NKR today and on which side? Let's start with Armenia and Artsakh. Everything is more or less clear here. First of all, these are Armenians, citizens of other countries. Their number is small. This is due to the fact that today it is extremely difficult to enter the territory of Armenia by official means. And the policy of Prime Minister Pashinyan led to the fact that for the majority of Armenian diasporas it is more important not to help the country by real participation in hostilities, but to influence the governments of their own countries in terms of political support for Armenia.
Much more in the self-defense units of the Kurds. The reason is simple. Kurds are allies of Armenians in the fight against the Turks. Moreover, the Kurdish fighters have vast combat experience in conflicts with the Turkish army. Kurds arrive in Artsakh from the territory of Syria and Iraq. Also today in the ranks of the Armenian army there are a lot of representatives of the Caucasian peoples, including living in the territory of Russia.
Most importantly, in the Armenian army and in the army of Artsakh, volunteers and mercenaries are not separate units or detachments. They are part of these units and act as regular fighters and commanders. The Armenian side takes into account the experience of Donbass and does not form international units. That is why Baku and Ankara's statements about the massive use of militants by the Armenian side look quite pathetic.
The situation with the Azerbaijani side is much more complicated. Let me remind you that the first who announced the massive use of militants from Syria in the Karabakh conflict was French President Emmanuel Macron. It was he who in early October announced the arrival of 300 militants from Aleppo in Karabakh:
[/ quote] “This is a confirmed fact, these people are identified and tracked, they all have connections with the terrorist organization Islamic State (banned in Russia). I discussed this with President Vladimir Putin, who confirmed that Russia also has this data. ”[/ Quote]
A little later, the Russian president spoke about the same. Putin spoke about this at a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation:
[quote] "The transfer of militants from Syria and Libya to Karabakh makes the situation extremely dangerous." [/ quote]
I think it is clear that the presidents of the countries do not just scatter such statements. The facts are presented at this level only when the information is checked and cross-checked from several sources. And for any word, both Macron and Putin are ready not only to answer, but also to provide evidence of their innocence.
Problems with its own army may begin in Azerbaijan
Let me remind you of the three levels of use of foreign military force in wars, which I wrote about above. More precisely about the third level. It is this level of intervention in the war that Turkey has demonstrated today and this is exactly what Azerbaijani President Aliyev faced. It's time to pay the bills.
Many analysts, including Russian ones, were surprised at how effectively UAVs and loitering ammunition were used, which, with the light hand of journalists, were called suicide drones. But there is nothing surprising here, if we take a simple fact as an axiom. Modern weapon you can't trust the layman. There is no weapon that fights on its own.
And then everything is simple. We experienced something similar on ourselves during the war on 08.08.08/XNUMX/XNUMX, when air defense systems were very effectively used against our aviation in Georgia. Efficiency was ensured by well-trained Ukrainian combat vehicle crews. Exactly the same can be said about the use of loitering ammunition by Azerbaijan. Well-trained operators sat at the control panels, of which there simply cannot be in Azerbaijan.
In addition to the use of high-tech weapons, Baku uses whole units of mercenaries from among the Libyan and Syrian militants. This leads to a confrontation between Azerbaijani and mercenary commanders during military operations. Both those and others take credit for each victory in battle and, accordingly, accuse the other commander of defeat.
This, in particular, says the Russian journalist Semyon Pegov on his telegram channel WarGonzo on November 4.
[quote] "Azerbaijani officers, who are mostly Shiites, are unhappy with the fact that they were actually removed from the command of the army in favor of representatives of Turkish special services and field commanders of pro-Turkish terrorist groups who are Sunnis." [/ quote]
[quote] "The Turkish special services demanded that the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, remove from management all Azerbaijani generals who were educated in Russia." [/ quote]
Probably, one can treat such statements with a certain skepticism. But, nevertheless, there is logic in such reasoning. Today, when the front has shrunk and the Armenian subdivisions are concentrating to defend the most important sectors, it will not be possible to solve the combat missions at once. The spring has compressed. Now the losses of the parties will be simply enormous, and the successes scanty. The best way out of the situation would be a truce. Better yet, another peace treaty.
The officers and generals of the Azerbaijani army understand this. The officers and generals of the Armenian army understand this. But this understanding runs counter to the goals of the mercenaries and special services of Turkey. Ending the war simply puts them out of the game and makes them stupid. There is no final victory. It means that it is difficult to demand any "trophies" from Aliyev. And the success achieved during the war, the Azerbaijani generals (and, it seems to me, deservedly) will attribute to themselves. The role of the Turkish president will generally be reduced to military supplies and moral support.
I am far from thinking that a rebellion may start in the army of Azerbaijan. The winners (and today this very army is the winner) do not rebel. The winners are eager to win further. But, in the current situation, a lot will depend on President Aliyev. Will he rely on his own army or will completely obey Erdogan.
To be continued
If to name the situation in which both armies found themselves in NKR today, in one word, then the word will be "fought ...". All were fought. And, most importantly, today, if you look at social networks, at official statements, at the comments of Armenian and Azerbaijani politicians and analysts, we are increasingly talking about peace, not the victory of one of the parties.
Both sides lost not only huge economic and military resources, but also a large amount of manpower. Both sides began to almost openly "crush" civilian objects and the civilian population. That is, today, most often those who die for whose life this war began.
The populations of both countries are opposed to the ruling class. The chair under Pashinyan crackles loudly enough. President Aliyev can no longer boast of nationwide love. In Armenia, more and more voices are heard about the need to change the political course and reorient the country towards Russia. In Azerbaijan, they openly say that the country may lose its independence if Turkey's influence on the country's internal affairs is not now limited.
I would say that the time has come for the active work of politicians and diplomats. The time has come for a sober analysis of the situation and a search for a way out of the crisis situation. Be that as it may, Armenia and Azerbaijan were and will remain neighboring states. And no matter what happens in the future, they will have to live next to each other and interact with each other.
It probably sounds corny, but it's time to stop and start talking to each other ...