Alwaght | News & Analysis Website

Editor's Choice

News

Most Viewed

Day Week Month

In Focus

Ansarullah

Ansarullah

A Zaidi Shiite movement operating in Yemen. It seeks to establish a democratic government in Yemen.
Shiite

Shiite

represents the second largest denomination of Islam. Shiites believe Ali (peace be upon him) to be prophet"s successor in the Caliphate.
Resistance

Resistance

Axis of Resistances refers to countries and movements with common political goal, i.e., resisting against Zionist regime, America and other western powers. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine are considered as the Axis of Resistance.
Persian Gulf Cooperation Council

Persian Gulf Cooperation Council

A regional political u n i o n consisting of Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq.
Taliban

Taliban

Taliban is a Sunni fundamentalist movement in Afghanistan. It was founded by Mohammed Omar in 1994.
  Wahhabism & Extremism

Wahhabism & Extremism

Wahhabism is an extremist pseudo-Sunni movement, which labels non-Wahhabi Muslims as apostates thus paving the way for their bloodshed.
Kurds

Kurds

Kurds are an ethnic group in the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region, which spans adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. They are an Iranian people and speak the Kurdish languages, which form a subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian branch of Iranian languages.
NATO

NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.
Islamic Awakening

Islamic Awakening

Refers to a revival of the Islam throughout the world, that began in 1979 by Iranian Revolution that established an Islamic republic.
Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda

A militant Sunni organization founded by Osama bin Laden at some point between 1988 and 1989
New node

New node

Map of  Latest Battlefield Developments in Syria and Iraq on
alwaght.net
Analysis

Baku Making Alliances to Break Karabakh Security Blocks

Monday 1 May 2023
Baku Making Alliances to Break Karabakh Security Blocks

Related Content

Tensions Rise in Karabakh after Azerbaijan Set up Checkpoint on Land Route to Enclave

Israel Regime Exports Weapons to Azerbaijan in Return for Access to Iran, Oil: Paper

Russia Voices Concern over NATO’s Military Activities in South Caucasus

Alwaght- Amid stepped-up Azerbaijan movements to realize its demands from the 2020 peace deal with Armenia especially the railway link from its territory to Autonomous Nakhchivan Republic via Armenia which is drawing objection from regional actors and trans-regional powers, Baku is increasingly turning to drawing support of its allies and backers in Karabakh dispute. After last month opening of embassy in Tel Aviv and exchange of diplomatic visits between officials of the two sides, in recent days, Georgia has been chosen as the next destination with which Azerbaijani officials seek to boost alliance. 

Last week, during the visit of the Minister of Defense of Georgia Juannsher Burchuladze to Baku and the meeting with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his Azerbaijani counterpart General Zakir Hasanov, the two sides stressed the need to step up joint military exercises between the two countries and hold mutual military working meetings. They also signed a military cooperation agreement. 

Emphasizing the need for meetings of officials of the two sides to expand relations, the two countries described mutual military ties as important in Caucasus. They also agreed on securing peace and security, holding joint military training, providing military equipment, and holding joint and multiparty exercises with Turkey. 

Geopolitical factors driving Tbilisi-Baku cooperation 

Georgia and Baku engaged in expansion of relations since collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Due to geopolitical factors and their bilateral need for each other, their main focus has been on connection of their railways that link the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea and ultimately to Europe. This, in turn, connects the Atlantic to the Central Asia. This transit route enables the transfer of commercial and military cargoes and energy to and from Central Asia through the air corridors, railways, ports and highways of Georgia and Azerbaijan. In both Azerbaijan and Georgia, this transit partnership is widely considered important because it is viewed as a tool for further integration of the two countries in the European economic and security space. In January 1993, then President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia said: “Our interests complement each other. We need their railways, they need our Black Sea ports if they want to export anything to the West.” 

Azerbaijan has significant hydrocarbon resources, and the implementation of large multinational exploration projects has made it possible for this country to become one of the oil exporters, which is looking for a major share of the direct export of natural gas to Europe soon. Implementation of this ambitious plan is eyed through agreements with Georgia. Energy export has helped Azerbaijan to become the dominant economic power in the South Caucasus, to a degree that according to the data published by the World Bank, since 2011, Azerbaijan alone accounts for more than 72 percent of the GDP of the entire South Caucasus region.

Also, playing a role in major economic projects like China's ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and the EU’s ‘Eastern cooperation’ strategy makes another part of the growing Baku-Tbilisi cooperation. 

Currently, Baku-Tbilisi railway is the largest under-reconstruction project falling under the New Silk Road megaproject being developed by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan also plays an active role in creating the North-South transport corridor. The integration of these two projects will benefit China, Central Asian countries, South Caucasus republics (Azerbaijan and Georgia), Turkey, and Europe. Given the impacts of the ongoing Ukraine crisis, these tremendous projects augment the strategic role of the South Caucasus region both in the New Silk Road initiative and in ensuring European energy security. At the same time, it seems that Georgia is looking to play a more distinguished role beyond the Trans-Caspian natural gas pipeline. This pipeline will transfer Azerbaijani gas in the Caspian Sea through Georgia to Turkey and then to Europe. Azerbaijan-Georgia’s cooperation within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is another example of their concerted diplomatic efforts to advance common strategic goals. The two countries were part of dialogue process aimed at curtailing Russian military presence in areas including South Caucasus and Moldova. In May 1996, at the Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) conference in Vienna, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine issued a joint statement emphasizing their commitment to the principles of the OSCE and their interest in closer cooperation on regional issues. Russia does not tolerate a Western role in South Caucasus issues, therefore it deployed its military forces in Armenia and in the two separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia following 2008 war. 

Challenges ahead of strategic relations 

Despite their successful and sustainable cooperation based on their national interests and interdependence, there are some challenging issues in their relationship which have expanded in recent years and inflicted damage on their cooperation process. One source of tensions is the dispute over a historical region and its complex of monasteries known as David Gareja on the common borders. Though this difference is not new, the region has grown more important for both sides and so have the differences over it. Georgians consider the complex an important part of their religious heritage. On the other hand, Azerbaijani historians consider this place to be the heritage of the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Albanian Church of the Ancient Caucasus. Azerbaijan considers itself to be the heir to the Caucasian Albania, which dates back to the 8th century. 

In early 2020, installing a statute of an Armenian soldier killed in war against Azerbaijan and considered as a war hero by the Armenians in a Armenian-inhabited village in Georgia drew strong protest from Baku. On January 14 , 2021, a group of Georgian villagers and activists clashed with Azerbaijani forces and sought to disarm them in David Gareja region. 

While part of this region is located in Azerbaijan, an unofficial 1990 agreement allows the visitors and worshipers to freely tour this part of Georgia. Azerbaijani forces are guarding the region. With their relations warm and friendly, Azerbaijan and Georgia have never had demarcation of the borders as a priority. Even there was a committee dedicated to demarcation for years and Georgian officials proposed exchange of territories— mainly seeking David Gareja sovereignty in return for giving regions with similar size to Azerbaijan. Baku is not interested in a settlement at least for three reasons. First, losing one-sixth of the country's territories to Armenia in the war made Baku uncompromising about territorial privileges even to a friendly country. Second, part of the historical Azerbaijan claim to mountainous Karabakh region rests on the argument that modern Azerbaijan is heir to the ancient Caucasian Albania. So, it is worried that if it makes concessions on historical regions that link its agenda to Caucasian Albania, its historical argument for Karabakh would be undermined. Third and perhaps most importantly, this disputed region is geopolitically significant in sensitive Caucasus region. The monastery is only 30 kilometers from the two countries’ border with Armenia. In 1992-1994 war, Azerbaijani forces planted landmines in parts of border with Georgia to block Armenian forces from encroaching on their territory via Georgia. Apart from David Gareja dispute, Georgians are complaintive about the misbehavior of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) which is Georgia’s biggest taxpayer. On the other side, Azerbaijanis complain about Georgian policy being erratic and untrustworthy. 

Their differences even sometimes made their way to the transit which is the most important area of convergence of the two countries. In 2019, Georgia went infuriated for being dropped from negotiations of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Russia on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project. Simultaneously, a Tbilisi intention to launch a transit corridor linking Russia to Armenia drew reactions from Baku. Such differences have entrenched mistrust between Georgia and Azerbaijan. For example, in Nagorno-Karabakh war in July 2020, Baku accused Georgia of allowing the transit of weapons from Serbia to Armenia. Although the Azerbaijani government has never officially accused Georgia of facilitating the passage of weapons to Armenia, reports of the Azerbaijani media stirred Georgian reaction. 

Azerbaijan claims a leadership role in South Caucasus and so thinks that regional and international actors seek Baku’s approach to settle bilateral problems with Georgia. However, recent problems showed that Baku cannot strengthen its bilateral relations with Tbilisi simply by relying on joint energy and infrastructure projects. Clearly, Azerbaijan’s soft power via social projects of the SOCAR in Georgia and also Azeri diaspora there cannot influence Tbilisi policy. Therefore, though the recent military agreement is portrayed by Azerbaijan as a show of power to make alliance among Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey in the front of Armenia backers, in practice the Baku-Tbilisi differences strongly cut its power to influence. 

Tags :

Azerbaijan Georgia Armenia Security War South Caucasus

Comments
Name :
Email :
* Text :
Send

Gallery

Photo

Film

Details of the funeral ceremony of the president and his companions

Details of the funeral ceremony of the president and his companions