Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 21, 2020

Nagorno-Karabakh Talks Again Fail - No End Of War In Sight

As we had expected the ceasefire in the war on Nagarno-Karabakh did not hold. Azerbaijani units, supported by Turkish mercenaries from Syria, have gained new ground (yellow, blue) on the lower grounds of the southern front.

via ISW news - bigger

The topographic map shows that Armenian troops have left the hard to defend lower grounds and retreated towards the mountains. For Azerbaijahn to proceed onto higher ground will be much harder than the previous fighting.

via Imago Pyrenaei - bigger

The low ground also offered little protection for the Armenians from the massive aerial attacks by the Turkish and Israeli drones that Azerbaijahn is using. Armenian units had big losses of tanks and other equipment to aerial attacks.

However, during the last 36 hours, Armenia has shot down 8 drones. It seems to have finally found a way to detect and hit them. Canada has stopped the export of gimbal targeting turrets to Turkey. Without these the drones are blind. One recently destroyed Turkish Bayraktar drone had a very recent manufacturing date of September 2020. It is thus not a stock item. That together means that Erdogan's son in law, who produces these drones, will soon have problems to supply more of them.

Another round of talks with Armenian and Azerbaijahni representatives has been held in Moscow today.

After today's talks had ended the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan offered a rather dark outlook for the conflict:

301 🇦🇲 @301_AD - 12:19 UTC · Oct 21, 2020

1. I want to state that we must clearly realize that the Karabakh issue, at least from this stage and for the coming long time has no diplomatic solution. All the hopes, proposals that a diplomatic solution must be found are over.
2. Today, and during all this process, I highly appreciate the cooperation between Armenia and Russia. We feel the fact that the Russian Federation is a strategic ally of Armenia.
3. We proved in the 90s that there is no Armenia without Artsakh, and today this means taking up arms and fighting.
4. The situation leaves us with no choice but victory.
5. Yes, a rather complex situation has been created on the front line. Military operations are taking place all over the south of Artsakh.
6. Everyone who can, take up arms and fight for Artsakh - Nikol Pashinyan

The news from other side was likewise depressing:

Spriter @spriter99880 13:22 UTC · Oct 21, 2020

Sad news about the results of the talks between the heads of diplomacy of Baku and Yerevan in Moscow. The main thing is to demonstrate the extreme intransigence of the attacking side.
The Baku delegate confirmed Aliyev's mantra about "war to the bitter end", which puts an end to the possibility of a hypothetical meeting of Aliyev himself with his counterpart.
The intensification of hostilities in Artsakh in the next 1-2 days is a likely scenario.

The fighting, seen here (vid) from the Iranian border, is fierce.

On Friday the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijahn are expected in Washington to hold talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompous:

According to U.S. government documents seen by POLITICO, Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov will meet first with Pompeo on Friday morning. His Armenian counterpart, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, will meet shortly afterward with the U.S. secretary of State.
The United States, along with Russia and France, co-chairs the so-called Minsk Group, a body that has sought to mediate an end to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

As the fighting has progressed over the past few weeks, Pompeo has appealed to Armenia and Azerbaijan to adhere to agreed-upon cease-fires, but such truces have rapidly collapsed. Pompeo also has urged Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, not to deepen the crisis.

The U.S. has little to offer to either side. I do not expect any progress from those talks.

Meanwhile, David Ignatius, the CIA affiliated Washington Post columnist, argued to create a no-fly zone against Azerbaijahni drones over Nagorno Karabakh:

Here’s a simple suggestion for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to meet Friday with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan: The path to real negotiations and stability in Karabakh could begin with a no-fly zone over the enclave, enforced by the United States, Russia and France, the three co-chairs of the “Minsk Group” that had been fruitlessly attempting to settle the Karabakh issue since 1992.

Pompeo has a big challenge. Russia and France brokered two cease-fires this month, and both failed. What’s needed is a plan that inserts the three big powers more directly in the Karabakh mess and provides a platform for addressing the underlying issues of sovereignty and refugees. The United States also wants to check Turkey, Azerbaijan’s ally, which Pompeo criticized in an interview this week for “coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation.”

Whoever thinks that a no-fly zone is a 'simple suggestion' is a simpleton. The idea is, as Daniel Larison provides, dangerous nonsense:

This is a terrible proposal for reasons that I hope are so obvious that they don’t need to be spelled out, but let’s review some of the chief problems. Ignatius has been banging the drum to “do something” about the new war over Karabakh for weeks, but this is the first time that he has explicitly called for military action. It is a mindless, reflexive demand for intervention that makes absolutely no sense. “No-fly zones” by themselves do not halt conflicts, and at best this would just expand the conflict to include more belligerents. It is difficult to see where U.S. planes would be enforcing this “no-fly zone” from, since it is doubtful Turkey would permit basing or overflight for such a mission, and there is a decent chance that the U.S. might have to enforce this “no-fly zone” against Turkish jets at some point. Ignatius’ proposal is hopelessly naive and extremely dangerous.

Enforcing a “no-fly zone” against two countries at war would involve not only possibly attacking both belligerents, but then maintaining patrols for months and maybe even years in flagrant violation of the sovereignty of both states. Russia would obviously refuse to participate, and there would be no legal authorization for the mission from the U.N. or anywhere else. The U.S. has absolutely no right to do what Ignatius demands. It would further complicate an already difficult conflict, and even if it limited Azerbaijan’s ability to use drones against Armenian armor and artillery it would not prevent fighting from continuing on the ground. The U.S. has no vital interests at stake in this conflict. It would be absurd and irresponsible to interfere militarily in a conflict that truly has nothing to do with us. Ignatius doesn’t acknowledge, much less address, any of these problems, and his argument is typical of an unthinking interventionist mentality that immediately jumps to a military option before other alternatives have been exhausted.

I agree that the idea of a no-fly zone is silly. But wonder who told Ignatius to launch that trial balloon.

Was it Mike Pompous? What would he want to achieve with it?

Posted by b on October 21, 2020 at 15:15 UTC | Permalink


The majority Azeri districts cleansed by the Armenians after the first war constitute a standing aggression, even if legalists pretend otherwise. Artsakh is not revenge for the Turkish genocide, but a crime in itself, as of today. Thus, the first requirement for peace, real peace, is the restoration of Azeri districts to Azerbaijan. The second presumably is a tolerable settlement for majority Armenian districts (largely in the mountains I gather.) Possibly a corridor to Armeenia proper allowing unification.

Driving Turkey away from every faint hope of any meaningful support at all from Russia by supporting Armenia/Russia advances chaos, hurts Erdogan and basically has no downside. Putin getting a tar baby in Armenia, because, why? They're Christians too? Yet another "frozen" conflict to tie down Russia.

Russia cooperating with a no-fly zone is like Russia surrendering, so of course Pompeo would like it, if he understood. Or perhaps he feels nobody dares a general war against the US so it's still a win if more war spreads, especially so close to an oil producer and pipelines.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 21 2020 15:26 utc | 1

Trial balloon. To destabilise Iran.

Posted by: CEM | Oct 21 2020 15:39 utc | 2

Was it Mike Pompous? What would he want to achieve with it?

The appearance of not supporting Turkey-Azeri operations.

We already know that Israel supports the Azeris, Turkey is (still) a NATO country, and Russia is more inclined to support Armenia than Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan is strategically positioned for anti-Iran ops and interdicting Iran-Russian. IMO that's all one needs to know about USA 'thinking' about the conflict.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 21 2020 15:40 utc | 3

It's unfortunate that the institution of verification mechanisms for the ceasefire were not agreed to.
Although, to my mind, it was at least hopeful that negotiations were genuinely attempted, more than once.
It was also a hopeful sign that most of the international community, at least publicly, supported the negotiation process and the ceasefire agreements.

Posted by: Josh | Oct 21 2020 15:46 utc | 4

Interesting read.

Posted by: Down South | Oct 21 2020 15:51 utc | 5

It was wise and prudent, in this case, to exhaust all diplomatic options towards peaceful resolution of the conflict.
I offer my sincere condolences to the fallen and their loved ones. I hope for peace to be restored as soon as it may rightly be.

Posted by: Josh | Oct 21 2020 15:51 utc | 6

The war in Syria which was floundering of late, has been moved north.

Posted by: bob sykes | Oct 21 2020 16:00 utc | 7

I have no idea who to root for or if any side deserves such a rooting.

Best I can understand is that Armenia through Azerbaijan out of N-K region thirty years ago. As Stephen says above...a cleansing in itself.

It goes to show you how complicated geopolitics can be without the empire interfering. When it does, as it did when bombing the Serbs, it creates a prolonged conflict fraught with a bitterness to the nth degree and has the potential for a far bloodier revenge-scenario.

Syria clamping down on Islamists was the only good outcome of that bitter war.

Border skirmishes will increase as countries flex more nationalist muscles in the years ahead. It is far more natural than relegating these nations to proxy forces in the global empire war when the great powers intervene, rubbing their hands and salivating at further consolidation of their power and influence. Dare I say events like this conflict are natural and even desirable as opposed to the global conflagrations which would ensue at the entry of the U.S.?

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Oct 21 2020 16:25 utc | 8

The main policy of the zio-puppet the United States is to attack Iran.
Israel is sellings arms and buying oil from azerbaijan for years. It has a airport and the US sends weapons to syrian radicals from azerbaijan. The aim was and still is to destroy Iran, sabotage the turks-russian-iranian alliance for now and get as much as possible military airfields and sunni-people who are willing to fight for you before they start.
A no-fly zone would be a perfect disguise to watch iran and build airfield outside of turkye, Armenia will ask for US-protection and give up sovereignty. A no fly-zone will give Trump the armenian-american votes, so it's better to wait.
The war must linger on for a few weeks, a fast liberation of NK and the plan will fail. The azeri might think they are great warriors and dont need the israeli or turkisch technology.

Posted by: gary | Oct 21 2020 16:33 utc | 9

Was it Mike Pompous? What would he want to achieve with it?

I think b is hinting at a desire for USA to have airbases in Azerbaijan. Obviously that would give US military a base that's very close to northern Iran and Tehran.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 21 2020 16:55 utc | 10

A "no-fly zone" right on Iran's border? I'd hate to be the US pilots who have to fly those patrols. No room to maneuver and if they stray a bit too far south then "Boom!" and their ground crew gets assigned to a new plane.

I wonder if the pompous one even bothered to look at a map before telling his sub to go and make a fool of himself?

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 21 2020 16:56 utc | 11

Time for History trivia:

The topographic map shows that Armenian troops have left the hard to defend lower grounds and retreated towards the mountains. For Azerbaijahn to proceed onto higher ground will be much harder than the previous fighting.

This is why the Romans were never able to conquer Persia. Even when the defeated the Persians and occupied Mesopotamian plains, the Persians would retreat to the mountainous region immediately to the east and build up a counter-offensive, easily retaking the Tigris-Euphrates delta back.

A similar problem existed in Britannia, against the Picts and the Scots.

It seems the invention of aerial warfare didn't change this old rule of warfare too much.

The failure to conquer Persia was one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Posted by: vk | Oct 21 2020 16:56 utc | 12

thanks b.... i hope they get back to a cease fire and no more loss of life happens.... all hail 'israel' who have such a hard on for iran and have convinced the usa likewise..

Posted by: james | Oct 21 2020 17:00 utc | 13

There is some form of ethnic separatist feeling in the Iranian area near Azerbaijan- in fact the Iranian provinces are called West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan (and Ardabil). Not to mention maybe 25% of Tehran province. They don't necessarily consider themselves Iranian- they're Turkic people.

Seems like an opportunity to stir up some trouble in Iran, if that was not the plan from the beginning. If you start seeing someone like Mahmudali Chehregani showing up in the news..

Posted by: BillB | Oct 21 2020 17:22 utc | 14

The Armenian air defence performs remarkably well. However, it's equipment is obsolet with much of it still stemming from the Soviet Union. Air defence systems if that era were usually not yet capable of engaging several targets at the same time.

Thus is is relatively easy to overwhelm the Armenian air defence. The Azerbaijani military just has to employ many drones in a specific region
at the same time and to accept the fact that some of them will be shot down before the others will achieve their objective.

The reason why this doesn't work anymore is that Azerbaijan ran largely out of drones.

Posted by: m | Oct 21 2020 17:35 utc | 15

A repeat request for MoA military experts -- according to Southfront, the Turkish drones seem to be particularly lethal against tanks, artillery positions, radar installations and missile sits in Libya and N-K -- is there some new advanced technology at play? ... what are the available defenses to them?

Posted by: chet380 | Oct 21 2020 17:38 utc | 16

@3 Yep..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 21 2020 17:47 utc | 17


FYI, the inhabitants of the Turkic speaking regions in Iran are not "Turkic people". In fact almost none of the Turkic speaking folks in the South or North Caucasus, Iran and Anatolia are "Turkic people". Except a small minority of Turkmen in North-East Iran and some displaced minorities in North Caucasus none of those people feel "Turk".

In addition, the founding dynasty of the Iranian Shieeh Nation-State are originating from the region of Ardebil and consider Shieeh as a doctrinal foundation of the Iranian State. In a simple word they are the ones that created today's Iran and cannot have irredentism towards the state.

Posted by: ATH | Oct 21 2020 17:53 utc | 18

Same old recipes by the same old panderers, dreaming Caspian, next stop Baikal, like Buzz Lightyear, to infinity and beyond. This Ignatius guy is shameless, he must be proud of Libya and BHL. So kill two birds with one stone, suggest fresh meat and whitewash old corpses, like the no fly zone that wrecked Libya and the criminals that enabled it.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 21 2020 17:59 utc | 19

Hmm, the direction of the Azeri offensive - SW, along the Aras river ( = the Iranian border) - would make sense as attempt to build a land route to Nakhchivan, enabling supply by truck from Turkey. If successful, it would also cut off Armenia from Iran, and put the entire northern border of Iran under Turkish/Azeri control.

The twitter video of (tank?) battle says it was filmed from Iran, looking North across the border at Bartaz, which (using Google Maps) looks like an abandoned Azeri village in N-K (rather depressing - looks like a bunch of houses with roofs blown off?). The Armenian border is only 5-10 miles down the (only) road from Bartaz, and from there it's only another 10-20 miles to Nakhchivan.

I hope the Azeris aren't stupid enough to try to take that road. Armenia might not be able to defend it, but then the Azeris wouldn't be able to either. And Armenia could probably smash Nakhchivan, unless the Turks actively intervened; that would be a real mess.

We'd just see more villages, towns, and cities wind up like Bartaz - places people once called Home, abandoned.

Why can't we all just get along?

Posted by: elkern | Oct 21 2020 18:01 utc | 20

@18. Yes, if the Safavids were originally partly Turkic mercenaries, they were only a minority in the multi-ethnic Persian empire. Though they managed to impose Shiism and use of Turkic in official business, it it they who assimilated in the Persian continuum and not vice-versa. Azerbaïdjan is a creation to prevent Qajjar control over Baku's oil fields..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 21 2020 18:24 utc | 21

@ATH | Oct 21 2020 17:53 utc | 18

Minor correction, most of the folks in Eastern Anatolia are not "Turkic" as you say (mostly Kurds today), but everyone else in Anatolia approximately westward of the line connecting Adana to Trabzon are considered and consider themselves as "turkic". Purists will argue that the population even in these western parts are a mix of Greek and Turkic and Armenian blood lines, but the "accepted" heritage there is unambigously turkic.

As you might imagine, it is a touchy subject wrapped up in the slippery question of "what is Turkishness?": an unsolved problem when viewed from a cultural anthropological lens and, moreover, for which any open discussion in modern Turkey is almost entirely repressed.

Nationalism at the expense of classical liberalism. Ain't it a thing?

Posted by: Norogene | Oct 21 2020 18:35 utc | 22

"A repeat request for MoA military experts -- according to Southfront, the Turkish drones seem to be particularly lethal against tanks, artillery positions, radar installations and missile sits in Libya and N-K -- is there some new advanced technology at play? ... what are the available defenses to them?"

Posted by: chet380 | Oct 21 2020 17:38 utc | 16

All air defenses, when ready to do their jobs, can be overwhelmed, if you just shoot enough stuff at them. Even an AckAck gun is going to run out of bullets and can only shoot in one direction at a time. Lasers have to re-charge. This goes for ballistic missile defenses too. Back in the day, the argument against ballistic missile defenses was exactly that, you might get some but you won't get them all, and all it takes is one getting through.

The Russians, from what I've seen, set them up in groups so they can cover each other and handle mass attacks better. I don't know if the Armenians lack the means or just don't know how to do that.

With the drones, you want good radar coverage and some jamming capability, they aren't hard to shoot down if you can "see" them.

Disclosure: I'm no expert.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 21 2020 18:58 utc | 23

@ Posted by: Norogene | Oct 21 2020 18:35 utc | 22

If I'm not mistaken, the "Turkic" only appear in History during the end of Late Antiquity or Middle Ages - long after the Persian Empire was gone. And even when they do appear, they seem to appear suddenly.

Some historians think the Turkic are a fabrication (a la the German people). They probably were some kind of amalgamation from the Mongol Empire or something like that.

Posted by: vk | Oct 21 2020 19:02 utc | 24

The No-Fly Zone trial balloon is to get NATO's foot in the door where it doesn't belong. Ever since the contrived borders were drawn decades ago this conflict was going to happen. But it comes as no surprise for those who know the history of the Caucasus region and its peoples who have a very long history of fighting each other. Nationalist motivations were muted while living within the USSR but not completely due to the above mentioned idiotic border drawing. The only lasting solution I see is a massive transfer of peoples and redrawing of borders that neither side will like but promises to solve the underlying issues.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 21 2020 19:03 utc | 25

Another example of Iranian terrorist, aggression Iran is providing drones and other weapons to kill Armenian Christians, oh wait, Israel is the one doing that. Never mind. Keep up the good work.

Just giving an example of the nonsensical, hate filled propaganda we throw at Iran. Could you imagine what Pompeo would say if Iran was helping Ajer kill Armenians?

I just want the shooting to stop. Even if Ajers were 'ethnically cleansed' it does not justify an invasion. Over the decades, Armenians have been pushed out of areas into a tiny sliver of land that they now call home. I read one Israeli who had the nerve to call Armenians bigots because they lack diversity. Uh sure, Gaza Strips tend not to have much diversity. That is the entire point for the jail keepers.

Issues such as repatriation of Ajers driven from their homes should be negotiated, not settled w/arms.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Oct 21 2020 19:38 utc | 27

b has been mainly pro-Armenian in this conflict. I suspect because Armenian propaganda has been very active - videos of every Armenian hit have been paraded on Youtube. Since then, Azerbaijani propaganda has fought back, and many Azerbaijani videos are now to see.

Frankly the basis of this conflict has been that Armenia has been occupying Azerbaijani territory for years. Azerbaijan has a right to get it back. I don't much believe in the theories that Erdogan launched the war. The sensitivity was already there; anything could have triggered it.

Azerbaijan has had successes, unexpected by b. We'll see whether the Azerbaijanis succeed in taking the mountains.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 21 2020 19:47 utc | 28

Posted by: elkern | Oct 21 2020 18:01 utc | 20

"Hmm, the direction of the Azeri offensive - SW, along the Aras river ( = the Iranian border) - would make sense as attempt to build a land route to Nakhchivan, enabling supply by truck from Turkey. If successful, it would also cut off Armenia from Iran, and put the entire northern border of Iran under Turkish/Azeri control."

It certainly seems easier for the azeris to roll up the valley and cut off the armenians than to carry the fight into the mountains.

I was under the impression that a turkish land route to Nakhchivan does exist along that tiny border on the enclave's northwest end. So the supply route aspect wouldn't be a factor. Cutting off the only friendly border (Iran), however, would be an existential disaster for Armenia.

Two developments I'll be following :

- turkish buildup in Nakchivian
- bitter fighting on the mountain ridge overlooking the bend on the river on Armenia's southeastern border tripoint.

Posted by: robin | Oct 21 2020 19:50 utc | 29

As Turkish military supplies are depleted in Azerbaijan that will impact the Turkish supplies to Idlib. Time for Syria to strike and liberate Idlib and all Turkish occupied territories in Norther Syria. This is a golden opportunity. Time to regroup and move forward.

Posted by: El Cid | Oct 21 2020 20:15 utc | 30

As far as I am familiar with Iranian geo politics, Iran would do nothing so does Russia IMO. Except inviting both sides to talk and somewhat maintain the stratus quo, they will let both sides wear out of attrition.Majority Shia Azerbaijanis are very religious they lookup to religious centers of Iran and Iraq, Armenia gets its energy fro
Iran and majority of her trade, Iran and Russia have real leverage they can use if they need to make conflicting sides to accept status quo, and when wear out/attrition is to a desirable balance level.

Posted by: Kooshy | Oct 21 2020 20:17 utc | 31

BillB | Oct 21 2020 17:22 utc | 14

One of the province in Iran is Azerbajian, closed to the republic of Azerbajian. The Azeris in Iran are ethnic turks but there are Shias and write with iranian alphabet. They are fairly religious contrary to the "Azerbajianis" who are Sunnis (like Turkey), more secular and they write with Russia alphabet. There are almost no threat of cessation in Iran as the azeris as they are very well integrated in the multi ethnic Iranian society.
Of course this is the wet dream of the USA and Israel and they try their best not to stop the war with Armenia ( which is an ally of Iran} but to stir the azeris in Iran to threatened the Iranian government,
Thus this conflict, like the conflict in Syria will bring death and destruction because the foreign parties want to get what they want (mainly weakening Iran and Russia) and are indifferent to human casualties.
Unless Russia, Iran and Turkey do not swiftly agree on a path to peace without other western intervention, that conflict is there to stay for long time..

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 21 2020 20:30 utc | 32

Trial baloon...

No-fly zones suggested by any part in the US ( officials driectly or their voceros in the MSM...and alt-blogs...) translate into impossibility to fly for everybody, except the US...
Through these "no-fly zones" the US would achieve, as always do, flying...( and landing...)into other countries´ air space it has not the opportunity before, and thus, collect intelligence on other countries bordering but not involved in this conflict, transport through its usual "secret flights" its proxy " airborne" army for the next conflict against Iran or Russia, and through the same means start an incident with the target nation to form a casus belli when the fruit is mature...

Taking into account the number, locations and pace of correlative "color revolutions", "regime change operations", "peaceful, or not so, transfers of power" started lately, plus the new Novichok internationaly broadcasted drama, and full ongoing operation to demonize Russia, I would bet the target is Russia, if not because in the general prospect of the "Great Reset", she has a lot of whole bunch of natural resources way larger than Iran, and after all Iran is an Israeli associated goal, which could be postponed ( moreover after the late restarting of relations by major (in the sense of richest and playing a major international role in geopolitics...) Arab countries in the US sphere of influence...) and will come after the "Great Reset" is completed, "New World Order" is stablisehd, and the "Number of the Beast" inoculated into most of us ( at least those who would want to continue travelling, commercing, working, having a social life....), that will be when the US debt will be wiped out through the creation of the "digital dollar", which would be such "fiat" if not more, than the previous one...After all, do not all those trillions already exist only on computers?

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 21 2020 20:31 utc | 33

Turkey has created by military force an artificial country in North Cyprus,recognized by no country in the world. Why wouldn't Armenia do the same with Karabakh? Is it a matter of military forces? The stronger wins!
Turkey has no lesson to give!

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 21 2020 20:36 utc | 34

For time being Armenian are learning Soros can not come to help them and defend them contrary to what they hope and Azerbaijanis will learn Turkey and Israel will not bring back their territorial integrity. My prediction continued talks with no results till they spend and wear out. Another form of Yemen, Syria etc.

Posted by: Kooshy | Oct 21 2020 20:37 utc | 35

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 21 2020 20:30 utc | 35

That’s wrong Azeris are not ethnically “Turk” they are Iranians even their profiles gradation culture and religion is much different, thy just speak a dialect of Turkish language which is not as easy as thought on both sides.

Posted by: Kooshy | Oct 21 2020 20:41 utc | 36

The US Govt supports Sunni Radical Islamist Head Choppers who want to govern and rule by the Koran.

Most Americans do not even know the difference between Sunni and Shia, yet it is the basis for the longest running war in US History. 9/11 was purportedly committed by Islamic SUNNI terrorists, which again the US supported while claiming to be waging a Global War on Terrorism against them. I ask fellow Americans all the time what the difference is between Sunni and Shia, and they are completely fucking clueless- most don't even know what the words are.

So many comments here from brainwashed fucktard American/Westerners blaming Armenia for cleanse killing Azers- while completely ignoring the ethnic cleansing atrocities committed by the Azers vs Christian (and non-xtian) Armenians.

To my fellow brainwashed Americans, go suck shit through a straw- if you are incapable of doing minimal research regarding Sunni/Shia or Armenian/Azer conflict you should really just stfu. You cast blame while having no idea wtf you are speaking of based on your guzzling of propaganda.

Posted by: CitizenX | Oct 21 2020 20:46 utc | 37

A no fly zone imposed by the US alongside Iran border. Hmmm.

Posted by: Jean | Oct 21 2020 20:47 utc | 38

The Turkish language Turks from Turkey speak is called
Istanbul Turkish and what Azeri from Iran and Aran (Azerbaijan) speak is called Azeri Turkish

Posted by: Kooshy | Oct 21 2020 20:51 utc | 39

For Iran and Russia the conflict in Karabakh is like as wisely they in Iran “ a stick with both ends deep in shit” meaning no way to lift the stick without getting dirty, so what to do? One should wait till some one lease lift and get dirty or wait till shit drys up and be consumed by the parasites.

Posted by: Kooshy’ | Oct 21 2020 21:02 utc | 40

@ elkern | Oct 21 2020 18:01 utc | 20

“To build a land route to Nakhchivan” would necessitate attacking Armenia proper (see map) and that will definitely bring the Russians on the Armenian side. IMO, they should swap Artsakh for Nakhchivan, which would make both countries contiguous.

Posted by: Bill | Oct 21 2020 21:06 utc | 41

If b may appear to be pro-Armenian, I suspect that is because he has greater concern with Turkey’s behaviour than anything else. It would not be good for the region if Erdogan finds that he can throw Turkey’s considerable weight around without consequence. With a tanking domestic economy, foreign distractions and a ‘rally round the flag’ atmosphere in Turkey would suit Erdogan very nicely and play to the neo-Ottoman fantasies of his supporters.
Better to make the downside costs of such adventures evident from the beginning. Erdogan needs to be seen to get his fingers burnt in this encounter, before he sets fire to anything bigger.

Posted by: extra | Oct 21 2020 21:25 utc | 42

@chet380 #16
I'm no military expert, but consider this:
A drone is relatively small and has hundreds to thousands of aerial height to maneuver in.
Tanks are primarily tasked to fighting opponents on the ground.
The drones are also not particularly large targets. It isn't even clear you can shoot a standard anti-air missile against one, even if you wanted to.
Now consider a drone with an armor piercing explosive device on it.
Normally the challenge is to get such a device to the tank - another tank or a ground troop has to expose itself to the target's fire in order to do so, unless the anti-tank weapon has much superior range (unlikely).
Replace tank above with a machine gun next or a pillbox/armored outpost - similar situation.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 21 2020 21:59 utc | 43

Thanks, B, for this sitrep! Wouldn't know where else to go for up to date, valid information and sound reasoning on this conflict.

In a way, there already is a no-fly zone in place - and that's the 20 or so MiGs the Russians have at their base in Armenia, plus the S-300. If I'm not mistaken, aerial warfare has so far been strictly limited to drones. The Russian presence in Armenia plus their defense obligations towards Armenia under the Collective Security Treaty Organization must be one of the reasons for it.

Russia could show some teeth here, instead of just watching the spectacle now and dealing with the fallout later on, which they sure will have to. Whatever the results of this war will be, they can't be good for Russia. That's why they should start to steer things. Use some special ops to destroy vital parts of Azerbaijan's gas pipeline network. Azerbaijan and Turkey will go apoplectic, blame it on Armenia and start all-out war on them. Russia conveniently steps in to safe Armenia's integrity by bringing any military movement around NK to a complete stop. Armenia will be grateful, Erdogan would be neutered, NATO would perhaps lose some of its appetite for the Caucasus. Gas prices would be up, yet Russia would be the only one anybody could turn to for replacing the unfortunate losses in Azerbaijani gas capacity.

But no, Putin and Lavrov would be too afraid of the shit-show at the United Nations, which of course we would have to go through in any such scenario.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 21 2020 22:01 utc | 44

A "no fly" zone enforced by the US enables the US to become the kingmaker. "Failure to enforce" on one or the other side would be the path.
It also keeps Russia out. If Russia has to intervene militarily to save Armenia, it would likely have to fly in troops/equipment by air as well as to deploy the combat methods used in Syria (heavy air strikes) to support Armenian troops.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 21 2020 22:01 utc | 45

Bemildred @27:

There was no spelling error. It was correctly spelt in redneck version of English.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Oct 21 2020 22:08 utc | 46

BillB @ 14:

My understanding is that the Western MSM (presumably with the blessing of Western governments and the network of NGOs and think-tanks connected to them) tried to play up a potential Azeri-vs-Persian ethnic conflict card back in 2009 with the Iranian presidential elections. Mir-Hossein Moussavi (the then main opposition candidate to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was running for a second term) was talked up as a real political threat with the backing of ethnic Azeri voters because he had ethnic Azeri ancestry. In the end, Moussavi fizzled out and a supposed conflict between Azeris and Persians never eventuated.

As long as Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains Supreme Leader, I assume there will not be ethnic conflicts involving Azeris in Iran. Khamenei is partly Azeri himself on his father's side. The Pahlavi dynasty was partly Azeri in ancestry and Youtube has a short video of Reza Shah Pahlavi (the founder of the dynasty) conversing in Azeri with Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk. There is probably not much significant cultural difference between Azeris and Persians and there may be more differences among the Persian people themselves than between them and Azeris. From what I have read about Azeris in Iran (not much at all, admittedly), they seem to be Turkicised Persians and have a different history from the Azeris in Azerbaijan.

As ATH, Norogene and VK allude to in their comments, the current ethnic divisions we take for granted in Anatolia and the Near East are actually very recent. The Turkish people themselves are a very new ethnic group. Even Turkish President Erdogan acknowledges having Georgian ancestry. One reason the Ottoman empire became so weak during the 19th century is that most of its population (even in areas now part of Syria and Lebanon) was Christian and influenced by nationalist movements in Greece and parts of central Europe. Population movements in the empire from the 1860s onward (emigration of Syrian and Lebanese Christians to the Americas in 1860s, influx of huge numbers of refugees from the Caucasus after Russian imperial conquest in 1860s, genocide of Christian communities in Anatolia during WW1, replacement of Armenians in eastern and SE Anatolia by Turks and Kurds respectively, population transfers between Republican Turkey and Greece in 1920s) were another reason for Ottoman weakness but also a factor in the emergence of the modern Turkish people.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 21 2020 22:33 utc | 47

How about a "No Fly Zone" in which nobody flies - not anyone, not anything. Sort of like marine reserves,an ecological air reserve.

I know (sigh); dumb idea.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 21 2020 22:43 utc | 48

I will enter the fray to back up Jackrabbit and inveigh further against the dangerous proposals of the Mad King. This neoconservative left proposal is a hybrid mix of horrific ideas, like some liberal identity politics on NATO acid. The US proposal is racists as hell, not taking into account actual culture but instead all the solutions are based on race and ethnicity. Keeping the Golan Heights in Israel is the tell of course. There is Genie Oil there, somewhere. That is Syria - and they can outwait everyone if need be - they are ancient.

Balkanizing multi-ethnic nations (Syria, Lebanon) and giving country away to the Kurds, who have not won a major territorial battle on their own, is just a bizarre Atlantic Council fantasy. The solution is in the opposite direction - destroy the Brzezinski doctrine of tension and adopt the Huntington Clash of Civilizations model.
All these nationettes are going to have trouble with independent economies. The BRI will tie them together but they will need larger scale arrangements. They will need to aggregate into regional accords by cultural compatibility.

Start to make peace between Shia and Sunni factions and re-integrate Lebanon, Syria,Iraq and give the Kurds some regional autonomy within Iraq and Syria. I would integrate Azerbaijan with an emerging Iran, as they are Persian not Turkic. Make Turkey fight for friends, as they have none.

Oh, this of course assumes NATO is defunct and the US drops Israel and makes it fend for itself (its rich and has nukes, so what the f*k?). That could happen by 2030, if not before.

Posted by: Mediastan | Oct 21 2020 22:52 utc | 49

king lear is a troll... wish people would figure that out.. oh well.. some of you know better too..

Posted by: james | Oct 21 2020 22:55 utc | 50

Erdogan supporting Azeri Muslim aggression against Armenian Christians makes Koranic "logic". Israel undermining a fellow religious minority in ME doesn't fit universal logic.
Israel can get oil from any number of sources other than Azerbaijahn.

Posted by: Antonym | Oct 21 2020 23:21 utc | 51


Israel clearly undermined, and continue to do so, Christians in Syria, Lebanon, Caucasus and Iran and they are doing it all over the "middle-east" and there are clear and undeniable examples proving it. Israel is factually in the same camp with Saoudis and will follow the same policy for now as this temporary ally.

Posted by: ATH | Oct 22 2020 0:31 utc | 52

Jackrabbit the post about Balkanizing the U.S. was satire, to show that just as we would resent outsiders determining our fate, GASP! The people in the M.E. might actually resent the Great White Man in the West imposing entirely new borders on them.

MadKing, I'll assume you meant well. I'm fine with changing borders as long as there is a referendum that has to be approved by all parties involved. It might sound nice to divvy up borders along ethnic lines but then you get into the issue of national resources.

Take Yemen. 85% of the population is concentrated in what we would call N. Yemen but the oil fields that they have are in the sparsely populated areas of S.Yemen. The people in the South would love it because 15% of the population would then get 90% of the oil. In the U.S. the sparsely populated Alaska wasn't able to deprive the rest of the U.S. from the oil revenue. Resources have to be pooled and risks shared. It isn't all about carving up ethnic enclaves.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Oct 22 2020 0:38 utc | 53

What makes your plan of dividing up the ''middle east'' any better than what the British did 100 years ago? The audacity.

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 22 2020 0:49 utc | 54

@ King Lear | Oct 21 2020 21:22 utc | 46

" . . . will anybody else offer any intellectual critiques to my proposal for 'Peace in the Middle East'."


Posted by: AntiSpin | Oct 22 2020 1:28 utc | 55

@DeepSouth way back at 5
thanks for the link; informative for one with only a vague conception of this festering situation involving "countries" I could find on the map but would have to scrutinize the names to pinpoint. Also to b for taking us where the MSM dares not go.

Posted by: defaultcitizen | Oct 22 2020 1:39 utc | 56

Steven Johnson in Comment #1, above, should educate himself about the demographic and political history of the area and the British commission investigation chaired by Baroness Caroline Cox and also recent statements by her and links to other historical material, before peddling anti-Armenian genocide propaganda.

Who began the war and massacre in Sumgait in the 1990's? Does he know? (See, for example: for links as well as, and also, See also:,_Baroness_Cox; and:; and: with additional historical information, including links about the Azerbaijan's Sumgait pogrom in 1988, and Baku pogram in 1990.

And also,

Posted by: edding | Oct 22 2020 1:41 utc | 57

audacious as a Titan, yes, but it sure couldn't turn out any worse.

Posted by: defaultcitizen | Oct 22 2020 1:45 utc | 58

Gary @ 9 Sabotage the turk-russian-iranian alliance, obtain and outfit military airfields close to Iran, enlist sunni-fighters, establish cover for survailence (no-fly) before Attacking Iran but Scotch Beingeington @ 50 says "Russia has already a no-fly zone in place together with S-300s. juliania @ 56 <= thinks Putin [s-300] will deny israel its bomb dropping rights. James @ 13 says "all hail 'israel" and Mediastan @ 57 says "Genie Oil is somewhere. "

The foreign parties expect to weaken Iran and Russia.. by: Virgile @ 35 and Schmatz @ 36 says "the target is Russia" <=what if Russia, while SALT is in limbo, nukes the USA before this obviously contrived conflict goes much futher.. ?? or what if Post Nov. 3, there is a different ?

CitizenX @ 40 <=Did Turkey starve 3,000,000 Armenia to death or did anybody discover oil in the disputed territory? Thank you Jen @ 55 for the excellent history lesson..

I think we have a new Syria..

Posted by: snake | Oct 22 2020 1:52 utc | 59

Hey, b, remember your repeated contention that the Azeri-Ottoman-headchopper alliance (AOHA) offensive had been fought to a near standstill? I had told you then that the AOHA strategy was to impose unacceptable attrition on the Armenian side and move on Nagorno Karabakh from the north and south, avoiding the mountains and simply concentrating on threatening to surround the area in a giant pincer. This is exactly what is happening; it's not even as hard as it sounds because there are only two major highways from Nagorno Karabakh into Armenia, and the AOHA are already moving up northwards towards one while the other is within artillery range and can be interdicted from safe distances. It was perfectly foreseeable and there is really not much Armenia can do about it short of attacking Azerbaijan itself in a desperate effort to draw in Russia and trigger the CSTO (which in any case neither Putin nor Pashinyan seems enthusiastic about).

As for drones, even if we take Armenia's wildly inflated claims as true, the Ottoman Sultan Erdogan has too much invested to back out now and will just commit his F16s (whose presence he at first denied) if it comes to that.

Artsakh is done and finished. It was over the moment Putin chose to exercise restraint and not prevent this war, which he could have with a few phone calls.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Oct 22 2020 1:58 utc | 60

Christian J. Chuba @Oct22 0:38 #62

Clearly you haven't been following moa closely. King Lear is known to regulars as a troll - as noted by james @Oct21 22:55 #58.

I responded to the mad King to refute his Hasbara bulshit because there was already a response from robin @Oct21 20:10 #32 and I hoped to intercede before others chimed in. People who are new to moa are apt to be susceptible to the trolls who come here from time to time.

<> <> <> <> <>

Instead of responding to the madness, maybe we should talk about why hasbara trolls are so successful and how to stop them.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 22 2020 2:08 utc | 61

I will comment about two aspects of the war.

The Azeris have been using Turkish drones as munitions carriers to use against land based targets that did not expect them, such as tanks, armored carriers, trucks, air defence units, pill boxes etc. Now however Armenians are aware of the fact that they must destroy them in order to survive.

The Azeris have also been using a IAI HAROP loitering munition that is an Israeli kamilaze drone. Carries a 25Kg explosive charge and has been very effective against Armenian radars and air defences. One of these "strayed" over Iran and was destroyed by the Iranian AA defences. Which prompted Iran to warn the belligerents against any ordinance landing on Iran's soil.

What is in it for TurkeY? they sell their Military Equipment to Azerbaijan to make money and are happy to pursue Gamal Ataturk's Armenian Genocide.

Israel caresses the idea of winning a military base in Azerbaijan which would make it easier for them to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. They also get to try their loitering munitions and other military hardware.

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 22 2020 2:10 utc | 62

Some months ago I wrote about all the different facets of our civilization war as plates spinning atop sticks held by the performer managing the event. It that case I was casting empire as the performer.

I now see the same sort of meme but with multiple players. And now the spin and wobble of the plates is representative of the ongoing status of the war facet/plate.

With Nagorno-Karabakh the plate is being spun by empire with spin affect by Russia and Iran. The spin affect by Russia and Iran has a cost in terms of resources just like all the other plates of the empire war interacting with these players. I posit that if nothing else, because of the volume of plates we see spinning, empire is attempting to overwhelm the resources of its adversaries.

And maintain control of the global narrative as the One.

How much longer can empire project its fig leaf of hegemony through global private finance?......the debt bomb is TICKING

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 22 2020 2:11 utc | 63

People need to be aware of the hasbara themes.

AFAICT there's only a couple of dozen and they get repeated over and over, often in different forms.

"Putin is a Zionist" is one example. This attempts to portray Russia's careful response to Empire aggression into FUD.

Exploiting ethnic rivalries is similar in that the divisiveness it generates works to the advantage of the Empire.

Then there's a whole series of misdirections which I don't have time to elaborate on right now.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 22 2020 2:25 utc | 64

Somewhat on-topic, Good for the Iranians and Syrians! When you have imperial pirates stalking the high seas and interfering with legal shipments of oil between two willing trading partners, it's time to bring in the heavy guns and make the pirates think twice before acting out again.

Russian ships seen escorting Iranian oil tanker to Syria

Posted by: _K_C_ | Oct 22 2020 2:54 utc | 65

Since we all know Ignatius is, as he has been for decades, the CIA spokesperson at the WaPo, it's obvious this is what the CIA proposes--but why? The whole thrust of the Washington foreign policy consensus is to make the USA relevant in that region in order to threaten Russia, not for any concrete goal but just to do it. Much of US foreign policy is a game played by rival gangs of gamers--they just make moves to stay in the game--there is no overall policy that makes sense--they play for the pleasure of the game not some goal other than the vague idea of world domination.

Posted by: Chris Cosmos | Oct 22 2020 3:00 utc | 66

USA just played its hand:
Resolution on Recognition of Karabakh Submitted to US House of Representatives

Now we know what's all about: USA wants to cause troubles there.
YEREVAN (Sputnik) - A resolution on the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) has been submitted to the US House of Representatives, the information center of the unrecognized NKR reported Wednesday, citing the Karabakh Foreign Ministry.

"A resolution on the recognition of the independence of Artsakh [Karabakh] has been submitted to the US House of Representatives. The author of the resolution is house member Grace Napolitano," the center said in its Telegram channel.

"The path forward is one of liberty, which is why I am today calling for official U.S. recognition of the Republic of Artsakh's independence," the center quoted Napolitano's words.

The fighting on the contact line in Karabakh began on 27 September. Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of unleashing hostilities, Karabakh reports artillery shelling of peaceful settlements of the unrecognized republic, including its capital, Stepanakert. Armenia has declared martial law and - for the first time - general mobilization, claiming that Ankara is actively supporting Baku. Partial mobilization was introduced in Azerbaijan.

The leaders of Russia, the United States and France called on the opposing sides to end the clashes and to commit themselves to begin negotiations without preconditions. Turkey has stated that it will provide Azerbaijan with any support it requests amid another aggravation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

On 9 October, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia arrived in Moscow at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They held talks jointly for over 10 hours. As a result, Yerevan and Baku agreed to cease fire in Karabakh from noon 10 October, to exchange prisoners and dead bodies, and also to additionally agree on specific details of the truce. However, already on 10 October the sides began to accuse each other of ceasefire violations.

The second attempt to organize a humanitarian ceasefire was made overnight to 18 October, however, just a few hours after the ceasefire came into force, Armenia and Azerbaijan said the other side was not complying with it.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its secession from the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. During armed confrontation in 1992-1994, Azerbaijan lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and its adjacent areas. Since 1992, talks have been ongoing on peaceful settlement of the conflict with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group, led by Russia, the United States and France.

Once again, Putin was made to look like a fool by US. Well played USA!! While Putin is idling, USA is always pushing. Putin is rapidly becoming a liability to Russia.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Oct 22 2020 3:25 utc | 67

NemesisCalling | Oct 21 2020 16:25 utc | 8
Dare I say events like this conflict are natural and even desirable as opposed to the global conflagrations which would ensue at the entry of the U.S.?
You should at least ask the question. Preferable, not desirable.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Oct 22 2020 3:46 utc | 68

This thread, including b's article, is all very Christian (Armenians) good/Muslim (Azerbaijanis) bad. Good to see the ancient visceral unthought prejudices have never been lost, and are still active. Rooting for the Armenians and defending their 1990s aggression seems par for the course here.

The thread, that is, apart from Kooshy telling us that Azeris (in Iran) aren't Turks but Iranian, in spite of the fact that they speak a dialect of Turkish. I found that funny. How come Azeris in Iran came to speak Turkish, if there weren't a major Turkish element in the population? It reminded me of a friend of mine in Shiraz, way down in the south of Iran, far from where we are talking about, revealed when we visited them, that he came from Turkish-speaking people there and didn't speak farsi till he went to school. There are some things in Iran that you are not allowed to know....

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 22 2020 3:46 utc | 69

To answer your question about what Pompei wants to achieve with a Karabach no-fly zone: create a forward operating base, useful against Iran and a staging post to have access to Caspian Sea.

Posted by: Amir | Oct 22 2020 3:48 utc | 70

(It might be useless but I'll give it a go.)

First of all one has to accept/understand that this is an idiot's war. If one doesn't then there's not much hope of anything but (self-)defeat, at most mutual defeat.

Okay so when some force hasn't got much choice but to fight their way into a killzone which pretty much goes nowhere and where they create flanks (plural, unless they're planning on sitting there and receive artillery fire) to the benefit of whoever they're fighting it is not usually considered any kind of victory. Of course the further one "progresses" the worse it gets and the longer and more vulnerable the logistics become.

People need to look at the maps so helpfully provided by b and consider how the Azeris lost the land in the first place: geography!

If they want to win they would have to change something; so far it looks like they hoped drones would save them but unfortunately for them they seem to ignore the deeper reasons why any such success would only invite more strife.

One clue should be that Armenia (rather than Artsakh) is not actually fighting, or at least not a lot, so far.

As for the pipelines the western ones should be well within range of artillery fire from both Armenia and Artsakh, neither of whom have given any indication that they feel any particular need for destroying it and ruining Azerbaijan. Again they are clearly holding back in their response to the Azerbaijani/Azeri attacks.

The northern pipeline goes up along the Caspian to Russia.

As I said before: whoever came up with this (in Turkey or Azerbaijan, or maybe the US or Israel) is a real fool (or evil asshole).

Here's what an actual genuine victory would look like:
· Azerbaijan says "fuck it" and stops attacking.
· Azerbaijan recognizes Artsakh (as they should have done from the start when it would have saved the most people on all sides and done wonders for the reputation of Azerbaijan which is not particularly good) and its control of wider territory with the aim of future border negotiations and concessions from Artsakh although with the understanding that quite a lot of the northern part of that territory has no value for Azerbaijan while having a large strategic value for the security of Artsakh and implicitly also Armenia.
· Azerbaijan understands that the southern plains held by Artsakh are indefensible and suggests that Artsakh gives them up/back to Azerbaijan with the mutual understanding (perhaps safeguarded by Iran right over the border) that the area will not be militarized.

Doing this and stopping the "dreams of conquest" is Azerbaijan's road to a much better future where the conflict can slowly be eradicated from history by behaving differently, let's say after a few hundred years of not starting or picking fights. They have much better things to spend their money on than wars over rocks and relatively infertile land.

This would make sense, thus it will not happen, mostly because of pride and "encouragement" :/

Turkey is also putting themselves in a potentially very bad situation (two, if I remember correctly) of the western pipelines supply Turkey (the other is for Georgia but they all pass through Georgia). People can again look at the maps.

A few links:

Snake Mountain is pretty neat, zoom out to study Nakchivan in general, have a look at the photos. Sadly the link doesn't enable me to set the zoom level.

Same; a photo of Snake Mountain with some links, one of which s to the OpenStreetMap more or less the exact same spot as the previous link (Google maps too for those who want it).

If one looks up "strange places" like for example Jabrayil in Wikipedia one can often find a few photos but also a link where it says "Coordinates" where one gets a custom page with links to the place in a lot of different internet maps.

It's a good idea to get at least some sense of the places one talks about and the various terrains they exist in:)

Laguerre it is a stupid war and this latest installment was brought to the world by the Azeris with or without the help of any not-so-good "friends"; it is not anti-muslim and certainly not anti-Azerbaijani to suggest to them that they should stop being fools.

If nothing else look at the kind of shit they're inviting by their actions: Turks of the insane variety, "headchoppers" ie. people who have denounced their own humanity, zionists/Israelis, and the US. Why on Earth (or in Hell) would you try to pretend that any of that is an improvement for Azerbaijan or ordinary muslims, or for that matter Iran, or Russia, or Georgia, or even Turkey? It is not.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 22 2020 4:38 utc | 71

I agree with the first para of steven t johnson | Oct 21 2020 15:26 utc | 1.

Yes, the most natural solution seems be some special status for NK proper (the mountain area), while returning all the surrounding Azeri territories (the so-called "safety belt") currently occupied by Armenia, to Azerbaijan.

And in fact (if I'm not mistaken) different versions of this solution had been discussed by Armenia and Azerbaijan multiple times since the 90s, unsuccessfully.

As for the Russian strategy, I suspect this situation presents an opportunity to get rid of the pro-western, soros-y PM of Armenia; to get him replaced with a more loyal character. But if this is indeed their game, it's quite a delicate and risky one.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Oct 22 2020 4:50 utc | 72

Maybe you don't know since you seem to be under the impression that you have figured out Iran with a few trips, but every Iranian knows of the Qashqai nomads living in Fars province and speaking Qashqai, a Turkic language, please don't generalise your ignorance,

Posted by: Arion Barzan | Oct 22 2020 5:25 utc | 73

Laguerre @ 78:

The current war was started by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, son of former President Heydar Aliyev who came to power in 1993 some time after the break-up of the Soviet Union. The President's decision may not reflect what Azerbaijani citizens actually want.

That a particular community of people come to speak a language doesn't in itself necessarily suggest that they share ancestry with other groups of people who speak languages related to what the community speaks. No-one would suggest that most people in Bolivia, in particular former President Evo Morales or new Vice President David Choquehuanca, or Peru are related to people in Spain because they all speak Spanish.

From online sources I have read, Azeris in Iran group closer to Iranians genetically and Azeris in Azerbaijan group closer to Georgians, Armenians and other groups in the Caucasus region than they do to each other; both groups of Azeris may have some Turkic genetic ancestry but it seems to be minor. The two groups became Turkic as a result of invasions by Oghuz and Seljuk Turks over the centuries and then domination by the Safavids (themselves Azeri and who established the foundations of modern Iran) and the Qajars who also ruled Iran. Why the Azeris and some other groups in NW and western Iran became Turkic speakers while other groups in Iran remained Farsi or Iranic speakers might be due to historical social and economic factors that have disappeared over time.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 22 2020 5:27 utc | 74

@70 Jackrabbit - "why hasbara trolls are so successful"

I'm convinced the answer is software. What I don't know is what proportions of each go into the human-program symbiote.

The troll in question here offers word salad. It's very focused with high pertinence, but it's still a salad.

Now, I have zero exposure to how any of this is done, so I still can't speculate how much of what is written is produced exclusively by software, and to what degree a human is involved. It's like a spell-check ramped up a hundredfold, and given purpose and targeting, etc.

Can a spell/grammar checker write an article? Not quite, but it can help. But could a highly augmentative program help someone write an article? I suspect this must exist.

I'm a writer and I don't need a lot of help from the computer, but I can't type blindly, and the spell checker is priceless for the countless typos. If I were a simple soldier with a taste for social media, what kind of software might be developed to help me distill out from a thread the main themes - ideally in real time - and then to randomize some words to make what appears to be an authentic and unique response, and add in some calls to actions that are learned from the particular forum as effective challenges that will gain responses?

It doesn't seem very outlandish to me that software could have been developed specifically for trolling, even in live situations.

And we can easily theorize that the software learns from each encounter, and in different forums. It might even have tag capability to tailor salads to individual commenters. Not to get too paranoid here, but this degree of specificity is quite in line with what we can do when we have a basic program working.

One can almost feel the trolls learning, groping in the dark for the highest and best of calls to action. It has attained to "intellectual critique" but it has not yet attained to the level of morality, much less of spirituality. Now THAT would be some software - and I half expect to see it attempt these heights eventually.

This is all off-topic of course, but that's what trolls do to a serious discussion. So large contributions to this thought might best wait for a open thread.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 22 2020 5:31 utc | 75

@80 Sunny Runny Burger

That was a pleasure to read. Thank you for the sane perspective. Sadly it's wasted on me since I don't influence events in that region, but Russia does and Russia seems to agree with your sentiments.

I don't know if you caught this piece by Ruslan Ostashko over at the Saker a week or two back, but I think you'll enjoy it. It basically says this is not Russia's war (because it's just stupid shit) and Russia has no interest in helping idiots to kill themselves in fighting idiot wars:

Former USSR Republics Are Going Crazy. Russia Doesn’t Stop Them

The Russian state of course takes an interest in all this madness as far as it concerns her security in the geopolitical sense, undertaking actions it deems necessary. But our civic society, whose interests I see myself a representative of, have grown tired of being interested in the ex-brothers who for thirty years have been applying the de-Russification policies and other aspects of independent nationalist awareness. This is why I can say with clear conscience I don’t care how many Azeris and Armenians will kill of each other. It is their sovereign right they tore away with their teeth, no matter what they squeal at us.

That's probably the feeling on the street in Russia, or a significant part of it at least. Russia now has a glowing future, and the great purpose on her horizon of enduring into the future of the world. The sadness at the borders, she watches as intimately as a mother (I believe), but she knows her own path and cannot but let the children find their own way.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 22 2020 5:56 utc | 76

Posted by: _K_C_ | Oct 22 2020 2:54 utc | 74
Russian destroyer escorting Iranian oil tanker.

That is good news. I wonder what security arrangements Iran has made for their shipments to Venezuela? But trouble is brewing further south on Socotra Island, Yemen in the Gulf of Aden where Israel and UAE plan on building a base. The comments on the story about the Iranian tanker are so outlandish. Typical for the rah rah crowd of American Exceptionalism.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 22 2020 6:05 utc | 77

More background info on this conflict I really didn’t know much about.

The Nagorno-Karabakh War, also known as the Artsakh Liberation War in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, was an armed conflict that took place in the late 1980s to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted, undeclared war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting with Armenia. A referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby most of the voters voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which began anew in 1988, began in a relatively peaceful manner. As the Soviet Union's dissolution neared, the tensions gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between ethnic Armenians and ethnic Azerbaijanis. Both sides made claims of ethnic cleansing and pogroms conducted by the other.[52][53]

Posted by: Down South | Oct 22 2020 7:21 utc | 78

Excellent analysis again, b. Cheers.

There's a lot to digest here, but a couple of initial thoughts;

- How much will the unavailability of Turkish drones effect the Azeri side? Can Israelis fill the gap?

- While it is of course possible that this turns into an anti-Iran conflict, I think this is a US/ NATO attempt to redirect. I am not convinced that Turkey or Azerbaijan want to disrupt relations with Iran and thus Russia, and this was not the original aim.

The lack of Moscow talks success probably hinges on two things - Turkey's exclusion from negotiations and the want to play off against US(+NATO?) - will maybe start seeing progress after the US talks. But this 'playing off' is dangerous.

Lastly, there are considerable Turkic communities throughout Iran and while we've seen some protests, the ethnic narrative is exaggerated especially given the very good relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan and the significant dislike of Turkey. Whoever suggests that these communities do not consider themselves 'Iranian' is wrong.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 22 2020 9:59 utc | 79

@Sunny Runny Burger | 71
Great comment.

Very well put. And thank you for understanding the difference between Turkish and Turkic. The conflation of the two is a specifically Turkish attempt to promote Turkey's importance and ibfluence regionally, when it suits.
Many communities in the region are bilingual or trilingual and it makes for an incredibly colourful and historically and culturally rich region. Most countries encourage and enjoy and are proud of this diversity. Iran is without doubt one of them.

Posted by: AtaBeir | Oct 22 2020 10:33 utc | 80

you can well understand the rationale behind the Turkish and Russian presence in this
ongoing conflict. But what on earth can possible explain the Israeli interest in all this?

Posted by: chris m | Oct 22 2020 12:15 utc | 81

a much better and reasoned analysis of this situation can be found at.....

b, is far to busy channeling Mike Pompeo in this situation

while still spreading rumours " supported by Turkish mercenaries from Syria," that no one but the most rubbish analyst takes serious

"The French President Emmanuel Macron started the spin that Turkey was transferring Islamist fighters from Syria to the Caucasus, but he has an old score to settle with Erdogan. It is an absurd allegation. Azeri President Aliyev abhors ‘jihadis’."

Ir originated with Lindsey spook Snell, on her twitter and she admits it is rumour- Of course that hasn't stopped b from promoting it

Posted by: R Rose | Oct 22 2020 12:22 utc | 82

@jen - Oct 22 2020 5:27 utc

Very insightful comments.

One thing I will add: from the rare DNA studies done in the region the Azeris and Gilakis of Iran seem to have a mixture of "Caucasian" and "Persian" genetic background. As a matter of fact one would say the inhabitant of Azerbaijan - in Iran - and the ones living in "Arran" - southern and central part of current day Republic of Azerbaijan including Baku - are historically, ethnically, religiously and linguistically as close as it gets. They have lived in a region with the same topography and climate for thousands of years. They share the same historical background. They were speaking Tati languages before adopting the Turkic Azeri which is completely understandable between them. They all converted to Shi'ism under Safavid and were ruled by them and Qajars of Iran for something like 400 years.

Posted by: ATH | Oct 22 2020 12:28 utc | 83

Grieved regarding hasbara trolls

Regarding your speculation that some of their posts are either computer assisted or computer generated. Yeah. That's an intriguing idea.

In my re-cap of the morning show dialog on FOX My MOA link @17 I've heard variations of that dialong a hundred times. Mad King did the 'Sykes Picot' map argument that I've heard a dozen times.

The point being that given enough time, I bet you could generalize the Neocon arguments into 5 to 10 patterns and slam them into threads. They are so friggin' mindless. Also, if I was a hasbara troll I might actually find writing that type of SW intellectually rewarding.

If I had to manually dehumanize Iranians to cause them, the Syrians, the Yemenis, and Lebanese to suffer, morning noon and night. I might have a nervous breakdown but if I could write a program to do it? It would save lives, at least the lives of humans.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Oct 22 2020 14:43 utc | 84

Some of you here probably know (but in case some do not) it is worth distinguishing the meaning of turkishness and turkic. According to ethnographers and geographists I know, "turkic" generally refers to the grouping of peoples based on the shared language "family" or "subfamily". So the turkic languages -- which includes modern anatolian turkish, turkmen, azeri, uzbek, and uighur -- are spoken by an array of ethnicities that are different from one another. This is why that classification is so complicated and fraught with mischaracterizations. As someone noted above, azeris are ethnically more related to iranian/persians than they are to turks of anatolia. The same cultural distinction goes for all of the other ethnic groups mentioned. They all also generally share the same religion, even though some are each others mortal heretical enemies in this regard (vis-a-vis the Sunni Shiite division).

"Turkishness" and being a "Turk" is a modern (and some might say 'artificial') nationalist construction, much in the way that "Israeli" is a modern nationalist identity. Turkishness was kind of the "rug that held the remainder of the room together" after the Ottoman system collapsed and modern Turkey was created. In the olden days of the Ottoman Empire, the ruling family were "turks" who were muslim, but the citizens rest of the empire were dealt with based first on your religion, then by your region of origin. The nationalist categorizations are a late 19th century phenomenon. For instance, during the population exchanges between Turkey and Greece after WWI, it was common for people to be labeled as "greek" based on their religion but couldn't speak a word of greek, and vice versa for those labeled as "turk". The whole thing is both lurid and tragic, yet here we are.

The parallels between the Armenia-Azerbeijan and Israel-Palestine are hard to ignore, especially when one views the events immediately after the partition of Palestine in 1948 against how things went down in Nagorno-Karabagh/Artsakh in the war of 1988-95. But perhaps this is a discussion for another thread.

Posted by: Norogene | Oct 22 2020 20:08 utc | 85

Thank you Grieved I hadn't read that, many good comments too (I haven't read all of them). I understand the point of view. Anyone anywhere, Russia or elsewhere, will grow tired and indifferent when repeatedly blamed for the past and/or "all things wrong" and at some point it only looks like an insincere ploy or whining.

That aside when it comes to the Russian efforts towards peace it is me agreeing with them :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 22 2020 21:09 utc | 86

@Sunny Bunny Burger 71

The Azeri offensive will succeed because

1. The Azeri side is much stronger than before and Armenia distinctly weaker.
2. The Azeris have Ottoman and jihadi headchopper support.
3. Armenia cannot enter the war officially Without making things much worse.
4. The so called Artsakh army is almost surrounded and has no ability to destroy the Azeri pincer attacks.
5. Stripping other fronts to defend Lachin will merely let the Azeris take territory there instead.

There is no point hoping for a miraculous revival of Armenian fortunes. This is why the Armenian propaganda is now increasingly delusional and desperate, such as denying the fall of Hadrut and Fuzuli. If that's true, any doesn't the Armenian side take media there and let them see for themselves?

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Oct 23 2020 2:02 utc | 87

"Today, and during all this process, I highly appreciate the cooperation between Armenia and Russia. We feel the fact that the Russian Federation is a strategic ally of Armenia."

Thus speaks the American asset.

Posted by: Kolkosh | Oct 23 2020 4:01 utc | 88

The Azeris are pushing a position which is untenable: return of N-K (and probably full-on ethnic cleansing of the 200K Armenians living there) and in return they would consider relinquishing the surrounding occupied territories to least this according to the Azeri foreign minister. This is diametrically inverted to the logically sensible solution proposed way back at comment #1 -- let N-K self-determine and force the Armenians to agree to pulling out of all the occupied territories.

This is position is pushed by Turkey because they know the Armenians (and Russians) would never agree to this, thus, more weapon sales.

Posted by: Norogene | Oct 23 2020 13:42 utc | 89

After the Canadians withdrew export license of certain drone technologies to Turkey, now US companyViasat Inc. vows to suspend drone tech supply to Turkey amid Bayraktar bombings of Artsakh civilians .
The timing of this announcement could not have been better – Azeri and Armenian FMs are currently in the US meeting with Pompeo.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 23 2020 15:52 utc | 90

@ 90 atabrit... you might enjoy reading putins comments to a question on the topic of the thread here...

scan down to the last 1/5 of the article where it reads this -
"Vladimir Putin: I see.

Let us begin at the beginning, with Nagorno-Karabakh and who to support in this conflict."

Posted by: james | Oct 23 2020 21:04 utc | 91

Thanks James,
Very interesting indeed and eminently pragmatic and decisive as Putin always is.

Things I noticed are:

- Realistic appreciation of the conflict, similar to Iran's stance (ignore the official Khomeni line) and the possibiliy of resolution.
Notice Turkey is not included here - does that mean it is seen as irrelevant to both the problem and the solution?. However, Turkey is clearly identified as the aggressor later on.

- When talking about the Minsk Group Putin is adamant in his support for the group - are we seeing US, RF and FR work in unison here? I hope so. Again, however, there is no mention of Turkey, seemingly dashing Erdogan's repeated calls both personally and through Aliyev for Turkey to be made co-chair of the Minsk Group. Guess this too is seen as not relevant.

NATO is not involved.Great news.

I love Putin's very poignant reminder to Erdogan that there is significant trade between the countries ... That must smart. )))

What is the Crimea thing about though? Do you know? Does it have anything to do with Turkey's recently announced 'strategic alliance' with Ukraine? Need to look into it.

I intend to get around to reading the rest of the interview because Putin is always worth the attention. Will skip the covid stuff though )))
Thanks again for the link

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 24 2020 10:08 utc | 92

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 24 2020 10:08 utc | 92

Yes, things seem to be getting "hot" in Idlib again too. And I see a story (RT I think) saying that (to paraphrase): "the trouble in Nagorno-Karabagh will not affect our cooperation with Turkey in Syria".

And some indications Iran is going to get involved.

Love that dry humor. I think Erdogan has gotten to big for his britches.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 24 2020 11:08 utc | 93

Let us begin at the beginning, with Nagorno-Karabakh and who to support in this conflict."

Posted by: james | Oct 23 2020 21:04 utc | 91

Yes, let's actually read what Putin said. I certainly did.

" But we have also always had special ties with Azerbaijan as well. There are over 2 million Armenians and some 2 million Azerbaijanis living in Russia, both those who have come to Russia in search of jobs and those who live here permanently. They send billions of dollars to their families back home. All these people have stable and close ties with Russia at the humanitarian level, person-to-person, business, humanitarian and family ties. Therefore, Armenia and Azerbaijan are both equal partners for us"

"At the same time, we understand that a situation where Azerbaijan has lost a substantial part of its territory cannot continue"

Our cooperation with Turkey is expanding. Turkey is our neighbour, and I can tell you in more detail how important interaction between our states is for both Turkey and Russia.

The cheering that goes on here for a colour revolution leader is beyond strange.. Yes, that's Pashinian. And yes he's a Soros boy.
Do some more searching and you'll find even more information tying Pashinian to the globalists

So US/Soros/NED backed colour revolutions are good, then?
Some weird double standards aka hypocrisy here at MoA

Posted by: R Rose | Oct 24 2020 13:18 utc | 94

@Bemildred | Oct 24 2020 11:08 utc | 94 / @james | 91

Here’s an article about the Ukraine-Turkey meeting last week, Turkey, Ukraine Sign Military Cooperation Agreements , I have a feeling that this is what the reporter was referring to when he said that Turkey had its sights on Crimea. Far fetched in my view. In the press conference I saw at the time, Zelenskiy looked thoroughly disinterested and I honestly thought it to be little more that a show piece for Erdogan – there are growing signs that Erdogan is moving towards an early election. We’ll see what transpires. The only other ‘serious’ article I have seen is this which talks about missile engine technology sharing by Ukraine, Turkey-Ukraine work on missile engine could open the door to tech transfer

Erdogan wants very much to become a serious arms producer. I guess this cooperation influences Erdogan’s stance on Crimea. (?)

Haven’t seen anything about Idlib, is Turkey preparing for more aggression? When they pulled back from some observation posts there were articles that suggested it was in preparation for further military action.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 24 2020 14:24 utc | 95

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 24 2020 14:24 utc | 95

Yeah, I don't think Erdogan is going to get Crimea, he's been a little crazy the last few months.

He has the same problem we do here, we want a dumbed down propagandized and easy to control population, but also want the developmental benefits that come only from a highly-educated, cohesive, and well cared for society.

I saw some posts on canthama1 regarding missile and aircraft strikes on oil facilities and ammo dumps in Idlib against "turkish backed" fighters.

Ah here we go:

Things are quickly heating up in Syria.

But to be sure I'm guessing, and Putin will cut a deal in a minute with Erdogan if he behaves.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 24 2020 18:05 utc | 96

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 24 2020 14:24 utc | 95

I think Erdogan has been trying these last few months to find a way to assert himself more, he is the master of Turkish politics but is a jerk, and has not governed well, and it puts him in a bind. Putin on the one hand does not want to alienate Turkey, with which Russia has to deal in perpetuity, or destabilize things further in the ME; and on the other hand he does not particularly want to help Erdogan's ambitions. A tricky dance to pull off.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 24 2020 18:13 utc | 97

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 24 2020 14:24 utc | 95

Two other bits on Armenia-Azerbaijan:

Russia a trusted mediator in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - Armenian president

Armenian top diplomat notes ‘remarkable unity’ of Russia, US, France on Nagorno-Karabakh

And I think we can conclude the attempt to remove Lukashenko is over for now:

US Respects Belarus' Sovereignty, Aims to Develop Bilateral Ties, Pompeo Reportedly Tells Lukashenko

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 24 2020 18:43 utc | 98

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