Keghart.org Editorial, 25 November 2022
Azerbaijan dictator Ilham Aliyev has expressed his hatred and contempt of Armenians on many occasions. He has ordered his political propaganda machine to degrade Armenians systematically. Hostile, racist, inhumane terms and ideas have been in use for the past ten years. But since the end of the 2020 war, Aliyev has been showing heightened levels of hatred and aggressiveness towards Armenians and surprisingly towards close and faraway friends. In a realistic context it might be said that he is trying to maximize his war gains through his military prowess. However, this explains partially the reality. Aliyev’s state of mind must be analyzed to adequately describe this new phase of animosity.
Aliyev’s growing belligerent and arrogant attitude toward all “others” has become obvious in the past year. He wants Russia to serve ‘his’ interests in return for lesser influence in South Caucasus. Aliyev wants Europe to remain complicit towards his brutal dictatorship while enhancing economic ties. Turkey to keep on sponsoring and marketing his bloody adventures while getting minimum benefits.
His vituperation regarding Iran is the most blatant example of Aliyev’s belligerence. In November 2020 Iran indicated friendly attitude towards Azerbaijan by “congratulating their victory in Nagorno-Karabakh”. Iran adopted a policy of reproachment towards Azerbaijan but was confronted with hate speech and provocation. In recent weeks this soared to unprecedented levels of animosity. Aliyev, members of his ruling elite, as well as his media claimed one-third of Iran’s population are ethnically Azeris and that the northern part of Iran belongs to Azerbaijan. These are unprecedented and conflict-encouraging discourses. Iran took the threats seriously and launched a military drill on its border with Azerbaijan. Tehran also retaliated verbally and diplomatically. Aliyev knows that a military confrontation with Iran would be very costly and might even threaten his one-man rule. But he is still persisting in his anti-Iran statements as far as claiming territories in Iran and threatening annexation.
In recent weeks, Aliyev’s bizarre behavior has gone beyond that of a typical dictator. He is now demonstrating psychopathic symptoms. Showing zero margin for negotiation, he is demanding the unquestioned backing of his friends. At political conferences, he repeats phrases that he believes are righteous such as: “Zankezur corridor is going to benefit all of us…”, “Armenians do not want peace while we have been seeking peace since November 2020”. “Armenians must have learned their lessons…”
How far can his counterparts and allies entertain his unbalanced behavior? In his recent speeches and official statements, Aliyev has shown overconfidence and an inflated ego. He doesn’t seem to take into consideration that Putin, Erdogan and Khamenei are vicious dictators who nurse big egos and expansionist dreams exactly like him…
What’s next? This is a question Armenians need to ask. Psychopaths usually act upon their word. There is no telling when Aliyev will strike again, especially now that he has heard from the recent CSTO meeting in Yerevan. Everyone is on his own.