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Old 09-28-2020, 02:22 PM
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Default Armenia v. Azerbaijan

Two former Soviet Socialist Republics are back at it again. In a purely T2k context, such a conflict would be almost inevitable after Moscow's control apparatus began breaking down in the wake of the nuclear exchanges.

In a modern T2k context, this small regional conflict threatens to drag in the Russians (supporters of Armenia) and the Turks (supporters of Azerbaijan), with the potential for sparking a larger, regional war (or worse). This situation bears watching.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/28/europ...ntl/index.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-a...-idUSKBN26J0VM
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Last edited by Raellus; 09-28-2020 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:01 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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It seems, 2020 is the gift that keeps on giving, indeed. Giving opportunities for misery and mil-fiction that is. As for the conflict and T2k, I honestly don't think, this would make a good starting point, and here is why.

For today, Russia, while being the historically biggest supporter of Armenia, especially against Turkish threats, Moscow's interests in Azerbaijan are much bigger than what it thinks it could gain from Armenia. Azerbaijan connects to the Caspian Sea, Iran and Central Asia as a whole. Harming Azerbaijan or even antagonizing it, would harm relations with Muslim communities in the Caucasus and the greater region, as well as beyond. Chechnya is just across the border and it's a national trauma far worse than Afghanistan for the Russians.

Also, President Putin would likely not choose the alienate President Erdoğan and Turkish nationalists over this matter, because that would drive Turkey back into NATO's camp. The whole point of hybrid warfare against the West is to blur the lines, make NATO, the EU and the USA choose from several evils: alienating key allies, damaging one's own credibility or directly supporting Russia etc. Hybrid warfare stays away from everything that allows for clear blocs to be formed. The KGB apparatus learned this from the last round: if in a weaker position, don't be openly visible, but move in the grey zones between being an ally, a friend and an opponent.

In short, I don't think that Armenia will receive to much support from Russia, but Russia might wish to enforce a diplomatic solution. Yes, Armenia can play the "First Christians" card, after all, historical Armenia adopted Christianity before any other realm did and that means a lot to nationalistic and religious elements in countries such as Russia, Serbia or Greece, but Russia cannot hope to gain a lot from Armenia. It's landlocked between Georgia and Azerbaijan and both these countries are better targets for Russian hybrid war and diplomatic-economic influence politics.

As for our favorite WWIII timeline, things are complex, too. Historically, Azerbaijan and Armenia went to war against each other, right after the USSR crumbled. Now, if that doesn't happen, it's unlikely the war would have gone as bad as it went between 1992 and 1994.

And Turkey is certainly not going to intervene
  • a) against a resurgent USSR: this would be an operation across Armenian or Iranian airspace and
  • b) without NATO support, for NATO historically refrained from first strike, invasion wars, especially against the USSR.
  • c) Turkey in the 1990s was also notoriously unstable with coups in 1993 and 1997 as well as the Turko-Kurdish civil war.

Now, for an indirect approach to this, I could see more chances of success. If the USSR doesn't split up in 1991, but is reduced in power and lives through upheavals in its Western Military Districs, the Armenian SSR and Azerbaijan SSR could fight over Nagorno-Karabakh nonetheless, creating a second hotspot in the Middle East, north of Kuwait. I suppose Iraq's invasion of Kuwait would still have happened, as it started before the USSR split apart in our timeline as well.

A more active Iran could try to play a different part, if the USSR would have taken sides in the US-led operations against Iraq. Suppose, a resurgent USSR would have funneled equipment into Iraq via Syria and more openly supported Kurdish peshmerga, as well as increasing its support for the Iranian Tudeh party, to divert from its own weaknesses, then the whole Middle East could have erupted in way it did in our timeline only after the Arab Spring.

This is all sketchy and very theoretical of course, but might serve as a basis for something larger. An all gloves off melee in the Middle East with Western and Arab forces fighting a bolstered Iraqi army in 1991 and lacking support from Syria, which in turn allowed Soviet material (and small units?) to use its own soil and that of Lebanon to funnel material into Iraq. A second pipeline goes through Eastern Turkey and Western Iran, dropping off material on its way, but allowing for three routes to support Iraq. Meanwhile, Iranian and Turkish forces fight intensified civil wars near each other against Kurdish and communist (often enough the same thing) forces, making Iraqi Kurds less likely to ally with the US coalition.

At some point, Iranian, Turkish and Allied forces on their sides or Soviets on the other make to many errors and small skirmishes start spilling over. US special forces and USAF strike fighters start attacking the "Abdullah Öcalan Trail" in Kurdistan to support Turkish allies and kill Iranian and Soviet soldiers across both borders. Meanwhile, Hafez Assad grows overtly ambitious in Syria and looks towards the oil fields of Mosul, while finally trying to settle the age old Euphrates water rights arguments with Turkey.

Meanwhile Romania starts "looking out" for "ethnic Romanians" in Moldova and the post-Tito Balkan errupts into its 1990s spiel, while the USSR cannot completely hold together its Caucasus republics and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Chechnya errupt into flames.

With the regions around the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf aflame, Northern and Central Europe just loose it over pointing at each other, killing each other in not-so-proxy wars and some guy not getting a radio message to not launch something.

It's a "come as you are" war in Europe, but there are no clear goals to be achieved. It's more an eruption of over-pressured guilt, until on January 25, 1995, the Norwegian Rocket Incident happens and before it's too late, a medium-sized nuclear exchange levels Europe, USA, USSR and most of the MENA region plus parts of Asia as China joins after a "better safe than sorry" approach of the Soviet Far Eastern Military District. As everyone knew, the Chinese were not respecting Soviet borders along the Almaty-Irkutsk-Vladivostok line anyway. So they had it coming...
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2020, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursus Maior View Post
In short, I don't think that Armenia will receive to much support from Russia, but Russia might wish to enforce a diplomatic solution. Yes, Armenia can play the "First Christians" card, after all, historical Armenia adopted Christianity before any other realm did and that means a lot to nationalistic and religious elements in countries such as Russia, Serbia or Greece, but Russia cannot hope to gain a lot from Armenia. It's landlocked between Georgia and Azerbaijan and both these countries are better targets for Russian hybrid war and diplomatic-economic influence politics.
I hope you are right, U.M., but I worry that with additional tensions between Russia and Turkey, and associated proxy conflicts currently underway in Libya and Syria, that we're headed for a direct confrontation between the two regional powers. Iran is a wild card.

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  #4  
Old 09-29-2020, 03:27 PM
Ewan Ewan is online now
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Armenia says its fighter jet 'shot down by Turkey'
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54345622

Last edited by Jason Weiser; 09-29-2020 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 09-29-2020, 03:58 PM
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Some are claiming it was an Azeri MiG-29. Either way, sounds like this might get worse before it gets better.

Sorry Ewan, I hit the wrong button in response to your post. My apologies.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:13 PM
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For another point of view, this article from The Firearms Blog uses a headline that claims the war threatens to drag other countries into the conflict.
https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/...-participants/

And then there's this... for an entirely different point of view, an Azeri Border Guard music video...
Yes, you read that right.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...suicide-drones

I believe this is the video in question (it has some pretty good footage of the Azeri military so is worth watching just for that)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSh5tm2Hmn0

Nope, I found the wrong video, this is (I hope) the correct one (again, worth watching just for the military equipment on display)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKA9xJx-NKg

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 10-01-2020 at 08:18 PM. Reason: updating
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2020, 11:06 PM
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This whole affair is being stoked by Erdogan who is a dangerously deluded SOB and a pan-Turkish nationalist and a hardline Islamist. That coup against him in 2016 was probably orchestrated by him or people who support him to eliminate any opposition to his control over the Turkish state. Erdogan has ambitions of revitalising a pseudo Ottoman Empire across the Middle East and the former Soviet states in the Caucasus and Central Asia. He has been flirting with Russia to emphasise the importance of Turkey to America and the West, while at the same time playing the NATO card to keep the Russians at bay.

On face value Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea, has vast oil and gas reserves, the highest GNP in the region and strong ethnic ties with Turkey, while Armenia is a land locked and resource poor nation. But thinking that Russia will ignore its history and Orthodox Christian solidarity with Armenia and favour Azerbaijan is a mistake. This won't end well for Erdogan or Azerbaijan for a number of reasons.

Russia also has access to the Caspian Sea and oil and gas reserves that dwarf anything that Azerbaijan has, while the land locked Caspian Sea is hardly as strategically important as the Black Sea or the Mediterranean.

The Armenian lobby in Moscow is also very strong and some prominent Armenian-origin journalists run Russian media outlets. Russia’s powerful Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has an Armenian father, while the largest non-Slavic diaspora in Russia is Armenian.

Russia has no military forces in Azerbaijan but has 3,300 troops based in Armenia. An army motorised-rifle brigade with 74 tanks and 12 helicopters, while the Russian Air Force also has 18 Mig-29s and two SAM batteries including one S-300V SAM battery. Russia places them there to guarantee Armenian security and Russian influence in this part of the world.

Turkey's relationship with NATO and the West has reached near breaking point. America kicked Turkey off the F-35 programme and pulled its nuclear weapons from Incirlik Air Base because it doesn't trust Erdogan and the Turkish military. Erdogan has ended traditionally good Turkish relations with Israel who has the most powerful military in the Middle East, while Turkish relations with the EU over migrants are now so bad the nobody is even talking about supporting Turkish membership of the EU anymore. For the Turkish military this is a bad situation. Turkey buys practically all its weapons from the West, especially America and Germany. If the West cuts off technical and logistical parts support the Turkish military will end up like Iran.

Although Azerbaijan has a strategic importance which draws Russian attention to it, Russia likes to supports Armenia for many reasons including the fact that its support for Armenia keeps Azerbaijan in its place and within its political orbit. Also picking a fight with a nuclear armed Russia in its own back yard is not a good idea, particularly a Russia led by Vladimir Putin. Even America wouldn't want to do this, but Erdogan thinks that Turkey can handle Vlad who's well known for not being ruthless and has a lack of inclination for retaliation against his enemies!!
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Old 10-09-2020, 02:25 AM
Fallenkezef Fallenkezef is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RN7 View Post
This whole affair is being stoked by Erdogan who is a dangerously deluded SOB and a pan-Turkish nationalist and a hardline Islamist. That coup against him in 2016 was probably orchestrated by him or people who support him to eliminate any opposition to his control over the Turkish state. Erdogan has ambitions of revitalising a pseudo Ottoman Empire across the Middle East and the former Soviet states in the Caucasus and Central Asia. He has been flirting with Russia to emphasise the importance of Turkey to America and the West, while at the same time playing the NATO card to keep the Russians at bay.

On face value Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea, has vast oil and gas reserves, the highest GNP in the region and strong ethnic ties with Turkey, while Armenia is a land locked and resource poor nation. But thinking that Russia will ignore its history and Orthodox Christian solidarity with Armenia and favour Azerbaijan is a mistake. This won't end well for Erdogan or Azerbaijan for a number of reasons.

Russia also has access to the Caspian Sea and oil and gas reserves that dwarf anything that Azerbaijan has, while the land locked Caspian Sea is hardly as strategically important as the Black Sea or the Mediterranean.

The Armenian lobby in Moscow is also very strong and some prominent Armenian-origin journalists run Russian media outlets. Russia’s powerful Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has an Armenian father, while the largest non-Slavic diaspora in Russia is Armenian.

Russia has no military forces in Azerbaijan but has 3,300 troops based in Armenia. An army motorised-rifle brigade with 74 tanks and 12 helicopters, while the Russian Air Force also has 18 Mig-29s and two SAM batteries including one S-300V SAM battery. Russia places them there to guarantee Armenian security and Russian influence in this part of the world.

Turkey's relationship with NATO and the West has reached near breaking point. America kicked Turkey off the F-35 programme and pulled its nuclear weapons from Incirlik Air Base because it doesn't trust Erdogan and the Turkish military. Erdogan has ended traditionally good Turkish relations with Israel who has the most powerful military in the Middle East, while Turkish relations with the EU over migrants are now so bad the nobody is even talking about supporting Turkish membership of the EU anymore. For the Turkish military this is a bad situation. Turkey buys practically all its weapons from the West, especially America and Germany. If the West cuts off technical and logistical parts support the Turkish military will end up like Iran.

Although Azerbaijan has a strategic importance which draws Russian attention to it, Russia likes to supports Armenia for many reasons including the fact that its support for Armenia keeps Azerbaijan in its place and within its political orbit. Also picking a fight with a nuclear armed Russia in its own back yard is not a good idea, particularly a Russia led by Vladimir Putin. Even America wouldn't want to do this, but Erdogan thinks that Turkey can handle Vlad who's well known for not being ruthless and has a lack of inclination for retaliation against his enemies!!
I'm inclined to agree, especialy with the covid mess and looming global recession. If Turkey provokes the bear the West's response will be the usual condemnation in the UN and NATO making strongly worded statements while making it clear that the conflict is a local issue between two independent nations.
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Old 10-09-2020, 10:52 AM
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Default Turkish Falcons

As of yesterday, Russia has so far disavowed direct involvement on behalf of Armenia. Turkey, on the other hand, appears to be providing direct military assistance to Azerbaijan.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...-to-azerbaijan

Iran, however, is making noise regarding Azerbaijan's reported use of foreign mercenaries from Syria and Libya.

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