Deciphering the Azerbaijan-Armenia War

(JNS-Israel Hayom) Harold Rhode - Azerbaijanis ("Azeris") are Turks who speak a language that is almost completely intelligible to Turks in Turkey. But, unlike the rest of the Turkish/Turkic world, which is Sunni, Iranian Azeris are Shi'ite. 3/4 of the total Azeri population in the world live in northwest Iran, just across the border from the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. 80% of Tehran's population either speaks Azeri or is of Azeri origin. Most Soviet Azeri intellectuals believed that when they created their own country, Azeris living in Iran would clamor to join them. But Iranian Azaris wanted to remain part of Iran and suggested that the former Soviet Azeris should also join Iran, possibly giving the Azaris greater political leverage in that country. Many international actors have a stake in the outcome of the Armenian-Azeri conflict. Russia supports Armenia. India also supports Armenia, in part because Turkey is training radical Indian Muslim clerics and sending them to fan the flames of Hindi-Muslim tensions. Sunni Pakistan supports Shi'ite Azerbaijan, in part because of its historically close ties with Turkey - since Pakistan's upper class is largely of Central Asian Turkic origin. The writer served for 28 years as an advisor on the Islamic world in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

2020-10-08 00:00:00

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